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Family Tree DNA Discovers Y-DNA Signature That Might Represent the Prophet Mohammed

DNA An article in the United Arab Emirate newspaper The National (wikipedia) does a terrific job of highlighting recent research from Family Tree DNA.  The story – “DNA could illuminate Islam’s lineage” – discusses research that has attempted to elucidate the Y-DNA signature of Mohammed.  Although Mohammed did not have a son, he had a daughter who married her paternal second cousin, thus passing to Mohammed’s grandchildren the same Y-DNA.  From the article:

“For almost 1,600 years, the title Sharif, Sayyed, or Habib has been bestowed on Muslims who have been able to trace their roots back to the Prophet Mohammed through intricate family trees, oral histories and genealogical records. But now an American DNA lab says it may have identified the DNA signature of descendants of the Prophet Mohammed, and perhaps the prospect of a direct, more accurate means of confirming or identifying such a connection.”

The caveat, as the story briefly mentions by the phrase “if their oral tradition is accurate”, is that no one has an authenticated DNA sample directly from Mohammed.  If there were, this type of research would not be needed.  Instead, the conclusion that it might be Mohammed’s Y-DNA is based on testing individuals who are likely to be descended from Mohammed and looking for a common Y-DNA signature.  Until a DNA sample from Mohammed is obtained (likely an impossibility), the conclusion will not be 100% proven, which means that any information about this conclusion should also contain info about this caveat.  Of course, as all genealogists know, almost none of our conclusions about ancestry/descendancy are 100% proven, especially when they are based at least in part on oral and paper records.

Sharifs DNA Project at FTDNA

There is a public Sharifs DNA Project at Family Tree DNA, which contains the following information:

“Sharif’s are people who claim to be descendant from the Prophet Muhammad, Peace on him, through the two sons of his daughter Fatima Ezzahra, which are Hassan and Hussein. The descendants of Hassan and Hussein sons of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb spread all over the world and particularly in the muslim world from Indonesia to Moroco. There are actually hundreds of thousand of people who are claiming to be be Sharifs. Some of them have a lot of genealogy documents heritated from fathers to sons and which contain many data about the genealogy trees.”

Perhaps the deduced Y-DNA signature is there?

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Blaine Bettinger

Intellectual property attorney, genealogist, and author of The Genetic Genealogist since 2007

11 Comments

  1. I agree with you about this one terrific job for Family Tree DNA of the Prophet Mohammed, if these will be completely proven to be very useful then will be able find our ancestors. Thank you for this article.

    Sommerhuse Danmark’s last blog post..Luksus sommerhuse

  2. At first, I was puzzled by this post: how can we trace Y-DNA through Muhammad’s daughter? Then I read TFA, and here’s the bit that makes it clear:

    “The Prophet Mohammed had no surviving sons but his daughter Fatima married her paternal second cousin, Ali, producing two grandsons: Hassan and Hussein. Both have a traceable line of male descendants.

    Because Ali and the Prophet Mohammed share the same grandfather, their paternal DNA is identical.”

    Blaine, thanks for another interesting post!

    Ernie Bornheimer

  3. how can we prove that relation to the profit exsist and what are the persantage and is there a blood samplle been made or at least to the one clam that they are related to the prophit

  4. Pingback: DNA of Mohammed
  5. The Prophet Mohamed (Peace Be Upon Him) lived between the years 570 and 633. 1600 years is off by about 200 years.

  6. This proposition is a rushed oversimplification of a coplex problem. First of all we know from the prophet himself that he is a descendant of Ibraham. But his descent is not proven to be of paternal line. The prophet himself stopped at Kinanah in his lineage apparently calling it a grndmother rather than a patrilineal anscestor. His own descendants carried the habit of carrying the Sharif title from both matrilineal and patrilineal side. That is precisely why the sharifs DNA project has temendous variety in YDNA haplogroups.

  7. As my name implied;i am being told by my ancestors that we are descendants of the holy prophet of islam;people around us in the northern part of nigeria know and regard us as such;when i asked my father and uncles they told me that our ancestors migrated from medina.i am curious about about this DNA project.it will be a great achievement in the world genetics breakthrough if this project could achieve its goal.somebody like me and my brothers in some cities and towns in nigeria,west africa would be glad to volunteer ourselves as samples for the project to succeed,because it is all about us-the sharifs and sayyeds.thanks and Allah help you to succed.

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