He's a devout Muslim from Tikrit in Iraq, and wants to go back and help fix things once he graduates. He does not subscribe to militant interpretations of Islam such as Wahabism, focusing instead on its pacifist teachings. He's an EX-6 and is also secretly gay. His family appears to be fairly well off, financially, since a blackmailer expected him to be able to part with two hundred dollars.
Sayyid first came into his power (or at least, became aware of it) at a very important moment in the life of a Muslim: during his hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, more precisely when he was touching the Kab’bah. His manifestation appears to have been very public and probably interpreted as a blessing from Allah, because this resulted on reflected glory for his whole family.
Together with the power manifestation, came the realization of his own sexuality, which he initially chose to keep secret. However, eventually someone found out about him and his boyfriend and blackmailed him. Instead of paying the ransom, he hired Reach and Spark to investigate and ultimately decided to come out of the closet, resulting in a good deal of angst and worry about religious issues. Hippolyta helps him get through some of them.