من أراد أن ينظر إلى آدم في علمه، ونوح في فهمه، وإبراهيم في حكمه، ويحيى بن زكريا في زهده، وموسى بن عمران في بطشه فلينظر إلى علي بن أبي طالب.
Whoever desires to see the knowledge of Adam, the understanding of Nuh, the forbearance of Ibrahim, the asceticism of Yahya ibn Zakariyya and the strength of Musa ibn ‘Imran should look at ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.
This hadith is narrated from Abu al Hamraʾ, Abu Sa’id, Ibn ‘Abbas, and Anas ibn Malik radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
Ibn al Jawzi and Ibn ‘Asakir narrate — from Abu ‘Umar al Azdi — from Abu Rashid al Hubrani — from Abu al Hamraʾ who said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam say…”
Ibn al Jawzi says: “This hadith is mawdu’ (fabricated). Abu ‘Umar is matruk (suspected of forgery).”
I could not trace Abu ‘Umar, or Abu ‘Amr (as it appears in Ibn ‘Asakir’s version).
Al Daylami (as it appears in al Suyuti’s al Laʾali al Masnu’ah) narrates this version of the hadith with a chain of transmission that contains the narrator Abu Dawood. His name is Nufay’ al A’ma and he is a kadhdhab (liar).
It also contains the narrators ‘Ali ibn al Hussain and Muhammad ibn Abi Hashim al Nawfali. I could not trace them.
Ibn Shahin narrates this version of the hadith with a chain of transmission that is saqit (wholly unreliable). It contains the narrator Abu Harun al ‘Abdi. He is matruk (suspected of forgery).
It also contains the narrator Muhammad ibn ‘Imran ibn Hajjaj. I could not trace who he is.
This version of the hadith is narrated by al Dhahabi and Ibn ‘Iraq.
Al Dhahabi says:
I do not know who Mis’ar ibn Yahya al Nahdi is, and he narrates an unacceptable report. Ibn Battah says, “Abu Dharr Ahmed ibn al Baghandi narrated to us — my father informed us — from Mis’ar ibn Yahya; Sharik narrated to us — from Abu Ishaq — from his father — from Ibn ‘Abbas.
Ibn ‘Iraq adds:
Al Bukhari says regarding Abu al Hamraʾ, “It has been said that saw the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. His hadith are inauthentic.”
The following can also be added to their comments on the chain of transmission:
Ibn ‘Asakir narrates this version of the hadith. He goes on to say, “This hadith is shadh bi marrah (anomalous in its text). There is (also) more than one narrator in the chain of transmission that is majhul (unknown).”
The chain of transmission also contains the narrators Yusuf ibn al Hassan al Baghdadi, Muhammad ibn al Qasim, Bakkar ibn al Rayyan al Hashimi, I cuould not trace them.
There is another narrator by the name of Ibrahim ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmed al Qirmisini. Ibn ‘Asakir mentions his biography without referencing anything regarding his status as a narrator.
There is another narrator by the name of ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Sa’id. Al Dhahabi says, “‘The chain of transmission of ‘Umar ibn ‘Ali ibn Sa’id from Yusuf ibn Hassan al Baghdadi is muzlim (murky) with a report that is inauthentic.”
Ibn Hajar followed suit and added that the intended hadith is this exact hadith that Ibn Asakir narrates.
Ibn ‘Iraq adds, “This does not necessitate that the hadith is mawdu’ (fabricated). Al Dhahabi alluded to this by saying it is ‘inauthentic and its chain of transmission is muzlim (murky).’ And Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala knows best.”
The signs of fabrication can, at times, be perceived in the chain of transmission, and other times, it can be perceived in the matn (text). This is the method of the huffaz (hadith masters). Ibn ‘Iraq—and al Suyuti before him—only focused on the chain of transmission. Focusing on the chain of transmission alone (and not the actual text) is a form of lenience on their part.
Al Albani ruled the hadith to be mawdu’ (fabricated).
Ibn al Maghazili narrates this version of the hadith with a chain of transmission that is batil (false). It contains the narrator Ibrahim ibn Mahdi al Abli. As mentioned previously, the hadith critics deemed him a kadhdhab (liar).
It also contains the narrator Ibrahim ibn Sulaiman ibn Rashid, he could not be traced.
Zaid ibn ‘Attiyah is another narrator in the chain of transmission. He is majhul (unknown).
There is another narrator by the name of Aban ibn Fayruz. His name is Aban ibn Abi ‘Ayyash and he is matruk (suspected of forgery).
It also contains the narrator Muhammad ibn Mahmud, he could not be traced.
In short, the hadith is batil (false). All the chains of transmission are wahiyah (feeble).
 Ibn al Jawzi: Kitab al Mawdu’at, 1/370; Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 42/313.
 Al Suyuti: al Laʾali al Masnu’ah, 1/325.
 Ibn Shahin: Sharh Mazahib Ahlus Sunnah, hadith no. 107.
 Al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, 4/99; Ibn ‘Iraq: Tanzih al Shari’ah, 1/385.
 Op. cit.
 Al Dhahabi: Tadhkirat al Huffaz, 2/736.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 7/112.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 7/111.
 Al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, 3/214.
 Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, 4/317.
 Ibn ‘Iraq: Tanzih al Shari’ah, 1/390.
 Al Albani: Silsilat Ahadith al Da’ifah, 10/4903.
 Ibn al Maghazili: Manaqib ‘Ali, hadith no. 256.