استأذن أبو بكر على النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فسمع صوت عائشة عاليا ، وهي تقول: والله لقد علمت أن عليا أحب إليك من أبي، فأهوى إليها أبو بكر ليلطمها. وقال: يا ابنة فلانة، أراك ترفعين صوتك على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم؟ فأمسكه رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم، وخرج أبو بكر مغضبا. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: يا عائشة كيف رأيتني أنقذتك من الرجل؟ ثم استأذن أبو بكر بعد ذلك، وقد اصطلح رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعائشة، فقال: أدخلاني في السلم، كما أدخلتماني في الحرب. فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: قد فعلنا.
Abu Bakr sought Nabi’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam permission (to enter). In a loud tone, he heard the voice of ‘Aisha saying, “By Allah! I know that ‘Ali is more beloved to you that my father.” Abu Bakr leaned over to hit ‘Aisha and said, “O daughter of such and such a woman! Do I see you raising your voice in the presence of the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam?” The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam restrained him and Abu Bakr left angrily. The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “Can you see, I saved you from the man (i.e. Abu Bakr).” Some days later, Abu Bakr (again) sought Nabi’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam permission (to enter), by then, the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and ‘Aisha had come to terms with one another. Seeing this, Abu Bakr said to them, “Bring me into (a state of your) peace just as you brought me into (a state of your) your war.” The Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “We have (already) done so.”
Imam al Nasa’i narrates this hadith from Nu’man ibn Bashir.
I have explained in the original work that the hadith is da’if (weak). The reason is because the central narrator of this hadith is Abu Ishaq al Sabi’i. He is a mudallis (obfuscates when he transmits) and a mukhtalit (commits serious errors). Ibn Hajar, al Albani, and Shu’ayb al Arna’ut have authenticated the hadith.
Meaning of the Hadith
Assuming the hadith is authentic (we have already mentioned who regarded it as authentic), several ‘ulama’ have responded to the assumption that ‘Ali was (allegedly) preferred over Abu Bakr. And that this hadith contradicts the following hadith of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As:
أن النبي بعثه على جيش ذات السلاسل قال: فأتيته فقلت: أي الناس أحب إليك؟ قال عائشة فقلت من الرجال؟ فقال أبوها قلت ثم من؟ قال عمر بن الخطاب فعد رجالا
(‘Amr ibn al ‘As said,) The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam delegated me to lead the Army of Dhat al Salasil. I came to him and said, “Who is the most beloved person to you?”
He said, “‘Aisha.”
I asked, “Among the men?”
He said, “Her father.”
I said, “Who then?”
He said, “‘Umar ibn al Khattab.”
He then named other men.
Ibn Hajar states:
The hadith of ‘Amr ibn al ‘As is the more preferred hadith (as opposed to the hadith of Nu’man ibn Bashir) because it is the actual words of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. As opposed to the other hadith, it is a taqrir of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is (also) possible to reconcile between the two hadiths by understanding that the love expressed by Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was in different ways; with regards to Abu Bakr, it was general, and was specific with ‘Ali. This way, ‘Ali can also be included among the people that ‘Amr left ambiguous (at the end of the hadith).
Imam al Tahawi writes:
In this hadith, the love expressed towards ‘Ali by the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is dependent upon what ‘Aisha said—he did not reject to what she said. All the meanings of what we have narrated in the chapter emerge without any contradiction. There is no contradiction in what we have mentioned previously (that ‘Ali was more beloved to the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the fact that Abu Bakr was more superior to ‘Ali in virtue; rather, both of them hold their respective place of love and virtue with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. May Allah be please with both of them and all other Sahabah. We ask Allah to grant us taufiq.
Al Munawi understood the two hadiths to imply different forms of love. It is as if Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was saying: These (people) are all the most beloved to me, in different ways; because of a quality found in the individual and a virtuous characteristic that is particular to him.
 Imam al Nasa’i: al Sunan al Kubra, hadith nos. 8441 and 9110 and Khasa’is ‘Ali, hadith no. 110.
 Ibn Hajar: Fath al Bari, 7/27; al Albani: Silsilat al Ahadith al Sahihah, hadith no. 2901; Shu’ayb al Arna’ut: Takhrij Ahadith Musnad Ahmed (his edition of the Musnad Ahmed), 30/342.
 Imam al Bukhari: Sahih al Bukhari, hadith nos. 3662 and 4358; Imam Muslim: Sahih Muslim, hadith no. 2384.
 A taqrir (tacit approval) of the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam is a tacit approval of something which is said or done in his presence, without him objecting. [translator’s note]
 Ibn Hajar: Fath al Bari, 7/27.
 Imam al Tahawi: Sharh Mushkil al Athar, 13/334.
 Al Munawi: al Fayd al Qadir, 1/168.