Can you confirm the grade of this Hadith and when did Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) make this statement?
It was narrated that Muhammad ibn Al Hanafiyyah (who was the son of Sayyiduna ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib) said:
I asked my father, ‘Who was the best of people after Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)?’ He replied, ‘Abu Bakr.’ I said, ‘Then who?’ He said, ‘Then ‘Umar,’ and I was afraid that he would say ‘Uthman, so I said, ‘Then you?’ He replied, ‘I am only a [normal] person from the Muslims.”
Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has recorded this Hadith in his Sahih. The Hadith is therefore authentic.
(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 3671)
Hafiz Ibn Hajar (rahimahullah) states that Sayyiduna ‘Ali (radiyallahu ‘anhu) had said this out of humility. Since this question was posed to him after the murder of Sayyiduna ‘Uthman (radiyallahu ‘anhu), he was the best at that time.
Muhammad ibn Al Hanafiyyah (rahimahullah) was quite young at this time, and he held his father in high esteem.
(Refer: Fathul Bari, under Hadith: 3671)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
Checked by: Moulana Haroon Abasoomar