أن الوليد بن عقبة قال لعلي: ألست أبسط منك لسانا، وأحد منك سنانا، وأملأ منك حشوا؟ فأنزل الله تعالى: أَفَمَن كَانَ مُؤۡمِنٗا كَمَن كَانَ فَاسِقٗاۚ لَّا يَسۡتَوُۥنَ (السجدة: 18
Al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah said to ‘Ali, “Am I not more eloquent in speech, a more accurate marksman, and I engender more fear and cover more territory on the front lines than you?” Then Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala revealed, “Then is one who was a believer like one who was defiantly disobedient? They are not equal.”
This hadith is narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas and ‘Ata’ radiya Llahu ‘anhuma.
The Hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas
This version has the following three chains of transmission:
- Al Qati’i and others narrate — from Hammad ibn Salamah — from al Kalbi — from Abu Salih, from Ibn ‘Abbas.
Al Kalbi is Muhammad ibn al Sa’ib. He is a kadhdhab (liar).
Abu Salih is Badham. He is da’if (weak).
- Al Shamukhi narrates — from ‘Abdullah ibn Salih — ‘Abdullah ibn Lahi’ah narrated to us — from ‘Amr ibn Dinar — from Ibn ‘Abbas regarding the verse, “Then is one who was a believer like one who was defiantly disobedient? They are not equal.” The word ‘believer’ referring to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib and the ‘defiantly disobedient’ referring to al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah ibn Abi Mu’it.
The chain of transmission is da’if (weak). Ibn Lahi’ah is da’if (weak). ‘Abdullah ibn Salih is sayyi’ al hifz (weak memory).
- Al Wahidi narrates from Ibn Abi Layla — from al Hakam — from Sa’id ibn Jubayr — from Ibn ‘Abbas.
Ibn Abi Layla is Muhammad ibn ‘Abdul Rahman. He is sayyi’ al hifz (weak memory).
Imam al Dhahabi made a mistake when he thought the chain of transmission is strong. Perhaps he though Ibn Abi Layla was ‘Abdul Rahman, when, in reality, it is his son, Muhammad. And Muhammad is sayyi’ al hifz (weak memory).
It has been mentioned that the verse was revealed regarding the father of al Walid ibn ‘Uqbah. Regarding this, Ibn ‘Asakir narrates — from ‘Abdullah ibn Salih — Ibn Lahi’ah narrated to us — from ‘Amr ibn Dinar — from Ibn ‘Abbas.
It has been previously mentioned that Ibn Lahi’ah is da’if (weak).
‘Abdullah ibn Salih was the scribe of al Layth. He is considered sayyi’ al hifz (weak memory).
The Hadith of ‘Ata’
Al Tabari narrates — Ibn Humaid narrated to us — Salamah ibn al Fadl narrated to us — Ibn Ishaq narrated to me — from some of his companions — from ‘Ata’ ibn Yasar.
Ibn Humaid is Muhammad al Razi. He is da’if (weak).
Ibn Ishaq is a mudallis (obfuscates when he narrates). His teacher is majhul (unknown).
Additionally, the hadith is mursal.
Al Suyuti mentions several narrations in this regard; however, he did not include their chains of transmission in order for them to be scrutinized.
In short, the hadith is da’if (weak) in all of its different chains of transmission. On the other hand, Imam al Dhahabi believed it to be strong [we mentioned the error he likely made].
 Al Qati’i: Zawa’id Fada’il al Sahabah, hadith no. 1043.
 Al Wahidi: Asbab al Nuzul, 349.
 Imam al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/415.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 63/235.
 Al Tabari: Tafsir al Tabari, 18/625.
 Imam al Suyuti: al Durr al Manthur, 6/553.