The above figure shows the frequencies of Y chromosomal haplogroups of men of South Asian who claim to be descended from the prophet or his tribe, as cross-referend with their surnames. The “Non-IHL” category indicates those who are not of these honored lineages.
The paper from which I drew the data, Y chromosomes of self-identified Syeds from the Indian subcontinent show evidence of elevated Arab ancestry but not of a recent common patrilineal origin, actually somewhat support the idea that these people descend from Muhammad or the Quraysh or the Ansar.
I think this is wrong.
But first, why do think these data results show Arab affinity? The “IHL” lineages have a higher proportion of haplogroup J, the most common haplogroup among Arabs. J is not exactly rare in South Asia (lots of <<<Brahmins>>> who are not sons of Indra have it because they are the scions of cunning Dasa priests), but there’s clearly a frequency discrepancy.
And yet this paper was published in 2010. We now know through various tests of confirmed descendants of Muhammad, and who descend in the male line from his cousin Ali, that they carry a branch of haplogroup J1.
Even among the Syeds, most do not descend from Muhammad assuredly. There are nearly as many scions of Lord Indra, R1a1, as those who bear haplogroup J. Of the J’s within the Syed community, I think the most likely scenario if they are not South Asia is that they are Iranian. J is found at frequencies of 35% in Iran, and Iranians, along with Turks, were the most common migrants into South Asia.
In other words, the Syeds of the Indian subcontinent are the sons of magians, not Muhammad.
22 thoughts on “The Syeds of South Asia are the sons of Hindus and Magians”
How do Syeds divide as Sunni Shia?
yes the Shi’ite Sayyid of Amroha are pretty different..
On 23andMe Iv seen South Asian Syed (both Sunni and Shia) haplogroups being:
J2 (various subclades, many South Asian Jafri’s are falling into a specific subclass of J2)
I2b1 (Must be an interesting story there)
I think the whole “Syed” business in Sub continent is to show assuredly that we are not from “here”, i mean the “Chohans” and the “Gujjars” cant run away from the past, the rest try out psuedo caste names like “Mughal” . In all this “Syed” is the prefect fit, there is no way they can be from subcontinent so its lock stock and barrel better than these “brown/black” south asians
You guys should see what Zaid Hamid posted on this topic recently.
I am a Syed…a pure Arab bloodline whose ancestors came with Islamic armies to capture India…attacking India is our family tradition after all..:)
My wife is an Uzbek….family is from Bokhara…settled in Peshawar.
same is the case with most Muslims here…”
Generally, how I see this is the following. It doesn’t matter what one ” is” as much as what is one’s orientation. It’s kind of like it doesn’t matter at the end of the day if my unnatural death was via a gun or knife or by serial killer or hate crime etc. Janjaweed in Sudan believe they are pure Arabs. The racial dissonance is matter of fact a reason for perpetrating massive acts of genocide on the animist tribes like Dinka, Nuer etc in Darfur. These Syed folks here are our own Janjaweeds. It doesn’t matter whether they’re actually Syed or not
Its true to say that ones outlook/identity is far more important than what they genetically are, and this can be a dissonance of sorts, but its not in any way unique to Muslims. Its seen in most peoples across the world, including Hindus.
We should keep in mind that Muhammad’s lineage is one of the few examples in Arab culture where descent is allowed to be transferred through a woman, which combined with even token inter-marriage to non-Syeds (which occurred both in the ME and South-Asia) would erase much of the alleged haplogroup evidence. Not that I believe most (if any) of these Syed’s are legit Muhammad descendants, just saying.
We should also note that much of the confirmed Arab settlement in India weren’t Arabs from the Arabian-peninsula (J1), but Arabs from Iraq (including the many Arabized Iranians from this period) who carry a lot of J2, R1, L, and G haplogroups. We also see elevated E haplogroup levels seen in Shia Syed/Qureshi groups, which we would expect from the history of North-African Shias who came to India.
Regarding the use of Syed/Qureshi honorifics by Indian Muslims to separate themselves from brown Indians, this is incorrect. This practice was/is prevalent in the Middle-East, and was simply continued by the Arab-Iranian forces who conquered India. Its not an artificial slight to Hindus, its an authentic tradition predating Islam’s presence in India. Based on history and the DNA studies I’ve seen, its also largely true (at least for the Syed/Qureishi’s from UP and Hyderabad, and then only in relation to general Arab-Iranian origin, not relation to Muhammad).
The artificial claim to non-brown Indian origin starts to arise during the colonial period among “local” Indian-Muslims, in the context of extreme polarization that took place visa-vis Hindus, and the larger role caste/tribe began to play. Here you began to see widespread claims of lineage to general Arab-Iranian invaders, which was a huge break from the traditional claims of lineage across the Muslim world (including India) which generally tied back to Muhammad or one of his companions.
My own paternal lineage (Punjabi Arain) is a perfect example of this. During the colonial period a prominent Arain intellectual was disturbed by what he read about the tribe during his British education (described as not a major land owning tribe, not a traditional warrior-caste, nor a ruling/managerial caste). So he wrote the folk-story (which endures to this day) that Arain are descendant from the 7th century Arab invaders, bolstering both our Islamic and Tribal status.
Sorry for the long comment again, just say so and I’ll shut up.
Excellent comment – yes we see the same thing with Iran and the black hat Sayyids (which is taken extremely seriously)..
” So he wrote the folk-story (which endures to this day) that Arain are descendant from the 7th century Arab invaders, bolstering both our Islamic and Tribal status.”
Looks like this is the AIT/AMT vs OIT theory of subcontinental muslims.
“Its not an artificial slight to Hindus, its an authentic tradition predating Islam’s presence in India. ”
Dont think hindus really know that much/give a damn on who really is or is not a Syed. Its not as if you are having Brahmin-Syed inter marriages 😛 . I think the only folks common hindus perhaps differentiate among muslims are the pathans and that too because of their tribal/non South -asian identity. For all rest of them they just map it with the corresponding caste groups (Muslim Jats,Gujjars-Hindu Jats,gujjars)
Based on history and the DNA studies I’ve seen, its also largely true (at least for the Syed/Qureishi’s from UP and Hyderabad, and then only in relation to general Arab-Iranian origin, not relation to Muhammad).
which DNA studies?
The above in addition to what you cited shows UP and Hyderabadi Muslims have significantly high West-Asian (Shias especially I believe from Hyderabad even had a bit of E) Y-haplogroups compared to their Hindu neighbors.
The earlier Harappa Ancestry project showed some UP Muslims (and especially Syed’s) had elevated South-West Asian admixture compared to their Hindu neighbors (Brahmins and Kshatriyas).
yeah. i recall that. minor component, but nontrivial.
the major problem is ‘sw asian’ is so broad. i think a lot of it is from iran/afghanistan, which overlaps with nw s asian.
I’m sure virtually all of the SW Asian is from Iraq/Iran/Afghanistan, I just think its likely that the SW Asian in those places came from Arabia during the Arab conquests, and was later transferred to India by Arabized Iranian peoples, both during their invasions and then later steady migrations through the sultanate periods (mostly in UP/Hyderabad).
re: Y chr, there is a big difference btwn west and east iran (khorasan). the east looks a lot more like s asia, the west looks more like the fertile crescent.
ps sub-saharan african ancestry though is the clincher. that’s almost certainly only mediated through muslims (though it might be through west asia as well)
I wonder whether the idiocy of fashioning oneself after conquerors is better/worse than going to absurd lengths to posit genetic nativism? Latter is definitely more common at any rate.
Please educate someone who is a novice on genetics. If I understand it well, the Syed descent is not exclusively patrilineal. Syed pedigree can be claimed via both paternal and maternal lines. So what is the significance of validating Syed ancestry via Y-haplogroup because it would have gotten mixed up with other Y lines quickly in a handful of generations.
In fact switching of Y lineage happened right at the onset because Muhammad did not have any male child. His lineage progressed thru his daughter Fatima. Admittedly since Fatima’s husband Ali was also Muhammad’s cousin, we have pretty good lock-in on Muhammad’s Y haplo. However, do we even have any one alive today who can claim – verifiably – an unbroken male line descent from Ali? My understanding is that direct male line from Ali was lost in the obscurity after the vanishing act of “Hidden Imam”, and probably went extinct.
There are people like Agha Khan, who claim descent from Ali/Fatima, but how verifiable is that? My guess is that it is all concocted genealogy.
“lots of <<>> who are not sons of Indra have it because they are the scions of cunning Dasa priests”
Youse just jelly that I have a Sanskrit name you don’t ;).
Except Razib -is- a Sanskrit name, albeit with known linguistic changes 🙂
The voicing of /v/ to /b/ is a standard feature of Magadhi Pkt (from which Bangla descends). And replacing /j/ with voiced sibilant /z/ is common in Himalayan/PahaRi IA languages probably influenced by Tibeto-Burman. So exists in Kashmiri, Nepalese and Hindi spoken in Darjeeling Hills or Arunachal. Quite probably the same substrate influence affects Bangla in N/E Bangladesh too.
Hence Razib < Skt rAjIva. MW Entry below:
(H2) राजीव 1 [p= 875,1] [L=176868] mfn. (for 2. » col.3) living at a king's expense (= राजो*पजीविन्) L.
(H2) राजीव 2 [p= 875,3] [L=176984] mf(आ)n. (for 1. » col.1) streaked , striped , S3rS.
(H2B) राजीव [L=176990] n. a blue lotus-flower Ya1jn5. MBh. &c
Of course, the common meaning of rAjIva is the (rare) blue lotus. Lotus flower itself being an iconic symbol of both Hinduism and, even more obviously, Buddhism. No wonder it is the national flower of India.
Very nicely laid out.
Many Indian Bengalis are embarrassed about their accent and tend to write their name:
However they pronounce name as Bangladeshis do. Bangladeshis . . . it appears . . . don’t feel embarrassed anymore.
I love pronouncing “Raajiva” [Sanskrit equivalent].
It is Rajeeb in standard Bengali and Razeeb in the rural dialects of East Bengal. Sanskrit v to Bengali b is an ancient transition, might date to Pali timeframe.
The j in standard Bengali to z in bangaal dialect might be Arabic influence. It isn’t just in proper nouns but also other items like verbs like to go is jaowa, they’d pronounce it zaowa..
my parents say ‘rajeeb.’ they find the rural dialect low class.
my kindergarten teacher changed it to ‘z’.
OK. Zaowa is a Serbian word. Pre-Vedic!!! Can some ‘Indo-European’ expert explain this? Thanks!
Comments are closed.