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.
In 1901 the total number of Sayads in all India was returned at 1,339,734.
The pure Mahommedans may again be subdivided into f our sections: Moguls, or the descendants of the last conquering race, including Persians; Afghans or Pathans, who from their proximity to the frontier are much more strongly represented, chiefly in the Punjab and in the Rohilkhand division of the United Provinces; Sayads, who claim to be lineally descended from the Prophet; and Sheikhs, which is a name often adopted by converts.