SAYAD, a descendant of Ali, the son-in-law of Mahomet, by Fatima, Mahomet's daughter. Many of the Pathan tribes in the North-West Frontier Province of India, such as the Bangash of Kohat and the Mishwanis of the Hazara border, claim Sayad origin. The apostles who completed the conversion of the Pathans to Islam were called Sayads if they came from the west, and Sheikhs if they came from the east; hence doubtless many false claims to Sayad origin. In Afghanistan the Sayads have much of the commerce in their hands, as their holy character allows them to pass unharmed where other Pathans would be murdered.
The Sayads gave a short-lived dynasty to India, which reigned at Delhi during the first half of the 15th century. Their name again figures in Indian history at the break up of the Mogul empire, when two Sayad brothers created and dethroned emperors at their will (1714-1720). In 1901 the total number of Sayads in all India was returned at 1,339,734. They include many well-known and influential families. The first Mahommedan appointed to the Council of India and the first appointed to the Privy Council were both Sayads.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)