كنا نحمل لبنة لبنة وعمار لبنتين لبنتين فرآه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فينفض التراب عنه ويقول ويح عمار تقتله الفئة الباغية يدعوهم إلى الجنة ويدعونه إلى النار. قال يقول عمار أعوذ بالله من الفتن.
We were carrying one adobe (clay bricks) at a time while ‘Ammar was carrying two. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saw him and began removing the dust from his body and said, “May Allah have mercy on ‘Ammar; the rebellious group will murder him. He will be inviting them (i.e. his murderers) to Jannat and they will be inviting him to the fire.” ‘Ammar said, “I seek refuge with Allah from the fitnah.”
This hadith does not directly speak to the virtues of ‘Ali; however, it does so in a more subtle and indirect manner. For that reason, I did not extensively trace it back to all of its original sources (i.e. the process of takhrij); rather, I restricted myself to only what appears in the Sahihayn (i.e. Sahih al Bukhari and Sahih Muslim).
Imam al Bukhari narrates from Abu Sa’id al Khudri radiya Llahu ‘anhu (the hadith related to) building of a masjid. He (i.e. Abu Sa’id) then goes on to mention the (above) hadith.
Imam Muslim narrates the hadith as follows:
رواه مسلم عنه قال أخبرني من هو خير مني أن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم قال لعمار حين جعل يحفر الخندق وجعل يمسح رأسه ويقول بؤس ابن سمية تقتلك فئة باغية.
(Narrated) from Abu Sa’id radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said, “A person who is better than me informed me that Allah’s Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was wiping over the head of ‘Ammar as he was digging the ditch (on the occasion of the Battle of the Khandaq) and said, ‘How great the suffering will be for the son of Sumayyah! A rebellious group will murder you!’”
Imam Muslim narrates from Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha that the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said to ‘Ammar, “The rebellious group will murder you.”
Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu interpreted this hadith in such a manner that he removed it from its actual meaning:
فروى أحمد أبي زياد، عن عبد الله بن الحارث، قال: إني لأساير عبد الله بن عمرو بن العاصي ومعاوية، فقال عبد الله بن عمرو لعمرو: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول: تقتله الفئة الباغية. يعني عمارا. فقال عمرو لمعاوية: اسمع ما يقول هذا. فحدثه. فقال: أنحن قتلناه؟! إنما قتله من جاء به!!.
Imam Ahmed—and others—narrates from al A’mash, from ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Ziyad, from ‘Abdullah ibn al Harith who said: ‘I was walking alongside ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, ‘Amr ibn al ‘As, and Muawiyah. ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying: ‘The rebellious group will kill him (i.e. ‘Ammar).’ ‘Amr said to Muawiyah: ‘Listen to what he is saying!’ He grabbed him and said: ‘Did we kill him?! The person who brought him here (i.e. in the conflict) killed him!’
There is no proof for this interpretation. It is through this hadith the ‘ulamaʾ of the Ahlus Sunnah display the virtue of ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu and how he was correct (as opposed to Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu) in his conflict against Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. ‘Ali was the Amir and it was necessary to obey him; whoever rebels against him is the transgressor. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam described his murderers as the ‘rebellious group’; and therefore, this is a description of Muawiyah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhum followers. May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala forgive them all.
Ibn Hajar states: “In this and in the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, ‘the rebellious group will murder ‘Ammar’ is a clear indication that ‘Ali and whoever was with him were upon the truth. Whoever fought them erred in their interpretation (of events). And Allah knows best.”
The forthcoming ahadith will support this.
 Imam al Bukhari: Sahih al Bukhari, hadith no. 447 and 2812.
 Imam Muslim: Sahih Muslim, hadith no. 2915.
 Ibid, hadith no. 2916.
 Imam Ahmed: Musnad Ahmed, 2/206.
 Ibn Hajar al ‘Asqalani: Fath al Bari, 6/619.