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Sayyids’ Share and How to Be Considered as a Sayyid

Q 1004: My mother is a sayyidah. I would be grateful if you would kindly answer the following questions:
Do I qualify as a sayyid?
Do my children and grandchildren, etc., identify as sayyids?
What is the difference between a sayyid from the father’s side and that from the mother’s side?
A: Although, descendants of The Holy Prophet through their mothers also considered as his descendants, the criterion for being a sayyid — as far as Shar‘ī rulings are concerned — is paternal relationship.

Q 1005: Are the rules of sayyids applicable to descendants of ‘Abbās, the son of Ali ibn Abī Tālīb (a.), e.g. can the students of Islamic studies who have that family tree wear the religious garment which shows that they are sayyids? Do the children of ‘Aqīl ibn Abī Tālīb (a.) fall into this category as well?
A: The descendants — through paternal lineage — of ‘Abbās, the son of Ali bin Abī Tālīb are regarded as ‘alawī sayyids [a sayyid from the descendants of Imam Ali (a.)]. All sayyids, whether descendants of Imam Ali or that of ‘Aqīl [Imam Ali’s brother], are considered as hāshimī sayyids. They enjoy the rights specific for hāshimī sayyids.

Q 1006: Recently I found a personal document of my father’s paternal cousin in which he is identified as a sayyid. Furthermore, it is famous in our family that we are sayyids. Considering these two proofs, I request you to give me your opinion regarding my being a sayyid.
A: The mere mentioning the word “sayyid” in a document of one of your relatives does not stand as a shar‘ī evidence that you are a sayyid. Unless you are confident or there is shar‘ī evidence that you are a sayyid, the rulings specific to sayyids and their effects cannot be applied to you.

Q 1007: I adopted a boy and called him Ali. I, then, referred to the registration centre to acquire identification card for him. In it, they described the child as a sayyid. I did not accept this since I am afraid of Prophet Muhammad (s.). Now I am stuck in two situations; either to refuse his adoption or to commit the sin by accepting him as a sayyid while he is not a sayyid. Which one of the two situations should I choose? Please give me some guidance.
A: The shar‘ī effects of being son do not apply to the adopted child. Also shar‘ī rulings and effects of being a sayyid do not apply to the person whose real father is not sayyid. However, to adopt a child and provide him with his needs when there is nobody to look after him is a highly mustaḥabb act in Islamic law.

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