Calling oneself as the descendants of prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The Details of the Question
Salamalykum. Me and my few couple of friends came up with an argument. The argument that struck was, nowadays people who's first name is ''Syed'' claims to be the descendants of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). How can that be and can you please shed more light in this regard. Jazak Allah
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The fact that Messenger of Allah (pbuh) described Hazrat Hasan and Hazrat Husayn as sayyids caused them and their descendants to be named as sayyids by Muslims. The enthusiastic love of ahl al-bayt (people from the family of Hazrat Muhammad) in the hearts of Muslims caused Muslims to hold the grandchildren of the Messenger of Allah in high esteem and to discriminate them from others by treating them differently in worldly affairs throughout history. In the beginning, the title sayyid was used both Hasan (may Allah be pleased with him) and Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) and their children. However, the title ‘sharif’ was started to be used for the descendants of Hasan (may Allah be pleased with him) and ‘sayyid’ for the descendants of Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) afterwards.    

During the Ottoman Period, sayyids and sharifs were shown great respect; an office called ‘Naqib al-Ashraf’ was established in order to maintain their superior and esteemed place in the society. The position of Naqib al-Ashraf was regarded as the highest position after the positions of, Muftil-Anam and Sheikh al-Islam.

There were registry books called ‘shajara al-mutayyiba’ in which the names of sayyids and sharifs were recorded. Naqib al-Ashraf had an important place in state ceremonies. Afterwards, with the degeneration of the state system, many people who wanted to benefit from the privileges and exemptions that sayyids and sharifs had made themselves recorded in the registry books of Naqib al-Ashraf through false pedigrees and witnesses. Therefore, not everyone who says, “I am a sayyid” is a sayyid.

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