لَا يحبّني إلَّا مؤمن، وَلَا يَبغضني إلَّا منَافق.
Only a believer loves me. And only a munafiq (hypocrite) dislikes me.
This hadith is authentically transmitted from ‘Ali and Salman radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. The other chains of transmission from Umm Salamah, ‘Imran ibn Hussain, ‘Abdullah ibn Hantab, Abu Dharr, Abu Sa’id al Khudri, Ibn Mas’ud, and al Baraʾ ibn ‘Azib radiya Llahu ‘anhum are all da’if (unreliable).
The Hadith of ‘Ali
عن عليّ رضي الله عنه قال: والّذي فلق الحبّة وبرأ النّسمة إنّه لعهد النّبيّ الأمّيّ صلى الله عليه وسلم إلىّ أن لا يحبّني إلاّ مؤمن، ولا يبغضني إلاّ منافق.
(Narrated) from ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu who said, “By Him Who split up the grain and created life, the unlettered Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam promise to me was that no one except a believer would love me, and no one except a munafiq (hypocrite) would dislike me.”
Imam al Tirmidhi said, “This hadith is Hassan sahih (fair and authentic).” Imam al Baghawi, Ibn al Jazari, and Ibn Hibban have all authenticated this hadith. The apparent implications of Imam Ahmed’s statements suggest that he (too) has authenticated this hadith.
The Hadith of Salman
عن أبي زيد سعيد بن أوس الأنصاريّ، ثنا عوف عن أبي عثمان النّهديّ، قال: قال رجل لسلمان: ما أشدّ حبّك لعليّ؟ قال: سمعت رسول الله صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم يقول: “من أحبّ عليّا فقد أحبّني، ومن أبغض عليّا فقد أبغضني.”
(Narrated) from Abu ‘Uthman al Nahdi who said, “A man said to Salman, ‘How extreme is your love for ‘Ali!?’
He responded, ‘I heard the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying, ‘Whosoever loves ‘Ali, loves me. And whosoever dislikes ‘Ali, dislikes me.’”
Al Hakim says this hadith is sahih (authentic) according to the conditions of both Imam al Bukhari and Imam Muslim; however, they did not include it (in their collections). Imam al Dhahabi concurred with al Hakim. It is as he said; al Hakim’s chain of transmission is sahih (authentic). The remaining chains of transmission have been mentioned in the original work. As I have stated before, none of them are sahih (authentic).
Meaning of the Hadith
Imam Muslim included this hadith after the hadith:
آية المنافق بغض الأنصار وآية المؤمن حبّ الأنصار.
The sign of a hypocrite is (his) hatred for the Ansar. And the sign of a believer is (his) love for the Ansar.
And the hadith:
لا يحبّهم إلاّ مؤمن ولا يبغضهم إلاّ منافق.من أحبّهم أحبّه الله ومن أبغضهم أبغضه الله.
Only the believer loves them (i.e. the Ansar). And only the hypocrite dislikes them. Whosoever loves them, Allah loves him. And whosoever dislikes them, Allah dislikes him.”
Explaining this hadith, Imam al Nawawi states:
These ahadith mean that whoever recognizes the status of the Ansar, what they did to serve the Din of Islam, their efforts in proclaiming Islam, their offering refuge to the Muslims, (how they) flawlessly carried out the Din of Islam’s essential matters, their love for Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam love for them, (how) they sacrificed their wealth and lives in his salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam presence, (how) they, in giving preference to Islam, fought their enemies; and he (also) recognizes ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu propinquity to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, the Messenger’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam love for him, what he did in support of Islam, and (the fact that) he was of the first to accept Islam; then whoever recognizes this and then shows love to the Ansar and ‘Ali—because of the above—then, that indicated to the soundness of his iman, and his belief therein. This is because of his happiness for the manifestation of Islam, and the undertaking of that which pleases Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and His Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. And whoever dislikes them, it is because of his opposition to this, and it points towards his hypocrisy and the corruptness of his inner state. And Allah knows best.
Ibn Rajab states:
Love of the auliya’ is generally (considered) part of (one’s) iman—and in fact one of its highest stages, and disliking them is haram (prohibited). It is actually from the qualities of hypocrisy because it is usually something that is not displayed outwardly. Therefore, if someone exposes this hatred, he is, in fact exposing his hypocrisy. In reality, this is worse than a person who conceals and (attempts to) hide it.
Whoever is more privileged in Din, either on account of his suhbah (companionship to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), or on account of his familial relationships with Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, or because of his service (to Islam), then such a person should be shown more love and less hatred. Even the forerunners to Islam such as the first Muhajirin, they are also more deserving (of the above), like ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Al Mubarakpuri states:
The hadith, “Only a believer loves you,” means “He, i.e. the believer loves you in such a way that is lawful (and) in conformity to reality, no more, no less.” This will assure that both the Nusayri and Khariji are excluded. Therefore, who loves him, i.e. ‘Ali and dislikes the Sheikhayn (Abu Bakr and ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma), then he too has not expressed his love in a lawful manner.
The remainder, “and only a munafiq dislikes you.” either means he is an actual (haqiqatan) munafiq, or under the precepts (hukman) of a munafiq.
 Sahih Muslim, hadith no. 78.
 Al Hakim al Naisaburi: Mustadrak al Hakim, hadith no. 4648; Al Shajari: Al Amali, 1/656.
 Imam al Nawawi: Sharh Sahih Muslim, 2/64.
 Ibn Rajab: Fath al Bari, 1/66.
 Al Mubarakpuri: Tuhfat al Ahwadhi, 10/164.