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Syed (Arabic: سيد) (plural sādah) is an honorific title that is given to males accepted as descendants of the Islamic prophet Muhammad(Pbuh) through his grandsons, Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, who were the sons of his daughter Fatima Zahra and son-in-law Ali ibn Abi Talib.
Daughters of male Sayyid/Sayyad are given the titles Syeda, Sayyida. Children of a Syeda mother but a non-Syed father cannot be attributed the title of Syed, as the family name is taken from Father's Surname and the bloodline is same.
In the history of Islamic mysticism or Sufism, many of the Sufi masters, famous for their enlightened personalities and a wide-ranging scholarly authority in matters of religion have been Sayyids/Sayyad/Syed by descent. There has been many Non-Syed teachers of religion in the Islamic tradition who have enjoyed an equal, if not more, regard among the Muslim populations at large, but the most frequent occurrence of people bearing the name Sayyid/Sayyad/Syed or claiming an attestable connection to the family of Muhammad, could be explained by the fact that, since in the Islamic tradition too, just like the Judeo-Christian Biblical traditions, the Spirit of God is readily accessible to the divinely appointed messengers, their descendants too, upon successful realization are bound to play a similar role in the organization and guidance of their respective communities as the original messengers did in their lifetime, which will remain, by far, the best example and the guiding light of the prophetic mission.
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