خطب أبو بكر وعمر فاطمة، فقال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: إنها صغيرة. فخطبها علي، فزوجها منه.
Abu Bakr and ‘Umar proposed to Fatimah. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said, “She is (still) young.” Later, ‘Ali proposed to her and he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam married her to him.
This hadith is reported by Buraydah, ‘Ilbaʾ ibn Ahmar, Hujr ibn ‘Anbas and Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
The Hadith of Buraydah
Imam al Nasaʾi and others narrate from al Hussain ibn Waqid — from ‘Abdullah ibn Buraydah — from his father.
The hadith has been authenticated by al Hakim, al Dhahabi, al Albani and al Arnaʾut. However, it has been said that that ‘Abdullah ibn Buraydah did not hear (hadith) from his father.
Ibn Shahin narrates the hadith with an unreliable chain. It contains the narrator Muhammad ibn Humaid al Razi who is matruk (suspected of forgery). In fact, a group of hadith masters considered him a liar.
The Hadith of ‘Ilbaʾ ibn Ahmar
Ibn Sa’d narrates this hadith. The narrators are all reliable, except that the hadith is mursal.
The Hadith of Hujr ibn ‘Anbas
Ibn Sa’d and others narrate this version.
The Hadith of Anas ibn Malik
Ibn Hibban and Ibn al Maghazili narrate from al Hassan ibn Hammad — from Yahya ibn Ya’la al Aslami — from Sa’id ibn Abi ‘Arubah — from Qatadah — from Anas ibn Malik with lengthy wording.
This chain of transmission is batil (baseless). Yahya ibn Ya’la al Aslami is da’if (weak). Sa’id ibn Abi ‘Arubah is mukhtalit (commits serious errors). Qatadah and al Hassan both obfuscate when they transmit.
Al Haythami says, “Imam al Tabarani narrates this hadith with a chain of transmission that contains the narrator Yahya ibn Ya’la al Aslami. He is da’if (weak).”
In short, the hadith with the first wording has been authenticated by al Hakim, al Dhahabi, al Albani and al Arnaʾut. As mentioned previously, there is some doubt regarding the contiguity of this hadith. It has been said that ‘Abdullah ibn Buraydah did not hear (hadith) from his father.
All the other wordings of the hadith are not authentic. The possibility of the hadith being Hassan (fair) comes about on account of the first version; it is not definitively munqati’ (broken). The two others versions are both mursal.
 Imam al Nasaʾi: al Sunan al Sughra, hadith no. 3221, al Sunan al Kubra, hadith no. 5310, 8454 and Khasaʾis ‘Ali, hadith no. 123.
 Ibn Hajar: Tahdhib al Tahdhib, 5/138.
 Ibn Shahin: Fadaʾil Fatimah, hadith no. 37.
 Ibn Sa’d: al Tabaqat al Kubra, 8/19.
 Ibn Sa’d: al Tabaqat al Kubra, 8/19, 20.
 Ibn Hibban: Sahih Ibn Hibban, hadith no. 6944; ibn al Maghazili: Manaqib ‘Ali, hadith no. 399.
 Nur al Din al Haythami: Majma’ al Zawaʾid, 9/206.