Sometimes, our cultural tendencies take precedence over Islamic jurispendence and social norms. One of the biggest examples of this practice is the marriage between a Syed girl to a non-Syed guy. This is a common but serious issue among South Asian people.
Who Are Syeds?
Syed is an Arabic word which means leader and it is used for respect like Mr. in the English language. The word ‘Syed’ became common in the South Asian region to mean a descendant of the Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH). According to historians, the term ‘Syed’ is most probably derived from the early Arab habitants who came to South Asia who were called ‘Syed’ in respect. The descendants of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) are better known as the Banu-Hashim.
Other history recorders consider it completely wrong. According to them, the lineage of Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) was called Syed from the very beginning – it’s not a tradition of South Asian people only.
Is It Allowed For A Syed Girl To Marry Non-Syed Guy?
There is a general perception in our society that a Syed girl can’t marry a non-Syed guy. Some believe that the descendants of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) are highly respectable and if you are marrying your son with a Syed girl, she must be kept with extra care and honor. But if you are not providing her with such privilege, there will be a curse coming your way! Unfortunately, just because of a wrong perception, a huge number of Syed girls are unmarried in the Indo-Pak region.
Here are a few examples from the life of Holy Prophet (PBUH) where he allowed the marriage between a Syed girl with a non-Syed man to set an example.
1. Bibi Safiyah Binte Huayy
There is absolutely no restriction in Islam that a Syed girl cannot marry an eligible believer from another family. One of the biggest examples is the marriage of the Prophet Mohamed (PBUH) itself to Bibi Safiyyah binte Huayy who was born to a Jewish family and converted to Islam before her marriage to the Prophet (PBUH)
Reference: Sahih Bukhari Book 8, hadith 367
2. Bibi Zaba’a
Bibi Zaba’a was the granddaughter of Hazrat Abdulmuttalib and cousin of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) married her with one of his loyal companion Hazrat Maqdad ibn Aswad.
Reference: Yaqoob Al Kulayni
3. Bibi Zainab Binte Jahash
Bibi Zainab was the daughter of Umayma binte Abdulmuttalib and cousin of Holy Prophet (PBUH). She had married with Zaid bin Haritha, the adopted child of Holy Prophet (PBUH). Although, the marriage later ended at divorce Holy Prophet (PBUH) set an example for his followers.
Reference: Jami Tirmidhi, Volume 5
And verily Allah knows the best!