في قوله: وَإِذۡ يَمۡكُرُ بِكَ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ لِيُثۡبِتُوكَ ]الأنفال: [30قال :تشاورت قريش ليلة بمكة فقال بعضهم: إذا أصبح فأثبتوه بالوثاق، يريدون النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم. وقال بعضهم: بل اقتلوه. وقال بعضهم: بل أخرجوه. فأطلع الله تعالى نبيه على ذلك، فبات علي على فراش النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم تلك الليلة، وخرج النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى لحق بالغار. وبات المشركون يحرسون عليا، يحسبونه النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم. فلما أصبحوا ثاروا إليه، فلما رأوا عليا رد الله مكرهم، فقالوا: أين صاحبك هذا؟ قال: لا أدري. فاقتصوا أثره، فلما بلغوا الجبل خلط عليهم، فصعدوا في الجبل، فمروا بالغار، فرأوا على بابه نسج العنكبوت، فقالوا: لو دخل ها هنا لم يكن نسج العنكبوت على بابه. فمكث فيه ثلاث ليال.
Regarding the verse, “And [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you…” The Quraysh consulted with each other one night in Makkah. Some said, “Restrain him (i.e. Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) with shackles when he wakes up in the morning.” Other said, “Rather, kill him.” Others said, “Expel him.” Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala informed his Prophet of this and so ‘Ali spent the night in the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam bed that night. The Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam went and hid in the cave. The Polytheists spent the night watching over ‘Ali, thinking it to be Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. When morning came they stormed inside. When they saw ‘Ali, Allah thwarted their plot. They said, “Where is this friend of yours?” He said, “I do not know. So they set out after him and when they reached the mountain, they were confounded. They climbed up the mountain and passed by the cave. They saw a spider’s web over its entrance. They said, “If anyone had entered here, the spider would not have spun a web over the entrance.” And he stayed there for three nights.
This hadith is narrated by Ibn ‘Abbas, ‘Ali ibn al Hussain, Abu Rafi’, and Muhammad ibn Ka’b al Qurazi radiya Llahu ‘anhum.
There are several different chains of transmission for this hadith (i.e. regarding ‘Ali spending the night in the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam bed), including:
The chain of transmission is da’if (weak).
Imam Ahmed says ‘Uthman al Jazari narrates munkar (unacceptable) ahadith.
I do not know the basis for Ibn Hajar and Ibn Kathir regarding this hadith as Hassan (fair). Ibn Kathir states, “The chain of transmission (for this incident) is Hassan (fair) and it is the best available narration regarding the incident of the spider’s web on the entrance of the cave. It is indicative of Allah’s protection for his Messenger salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.”
How I wish he mentioned the name of the person he narrated from! The rest of the chain of transmission is Hassan (fair).
‘Abdul Nur is al Misma’i. He is a kadhdhab (liar).
Al Hussain ibn ‘Abdul Rahman al Azdi and his father could not be traced.
‘Abbad ibn Thabit could not be traced.
Sulaiman ibn Qarm is da’if.
‘Abdul Rahman ibn Maymun Abu ‘Abdullah is Majhul and has not be sanctioned by anyone except Ibn Hibban.
His father is da’if.
This Hadith is Munkar.
Al Hakim narrates — from Yahya ibn ‘Abdul Hamid al Himmani — Qais ibn al Rabi’ narrated to us — Hakim ibn Jubayr narrated to us — from ‘Ali ibn al Hussain.
Yahya ibn ‘Abdul Hamid al Himmani is suspected of saraqat al hadith.
Qais ibn al Rabi’ is da’if (weak).
Hakim ibn Jubayr al Kufi is matruk (suspected of forgery).
Additionally, the hadith is mursal.
Ibn ‘Asakir narrates — from Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’id al Hamdani — Ahmed ibn Yusuf narrated to us — Muhammad ibn Yazid al Nakha’i narrated to us — ‘Ubaidullah ibn al Hassan narrated to us — Muawiyah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ubaidullah ibn Abi Rafi’ narrated to me — from his father — from his grandfather — from Abu Rafi’.
‘Ubaidullah ibn al Hassan said — Muhammad ibn ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Rafi’ narrated to me — from his father — from his grandfather — from Abu Rafi’.
Muawiyah ibn ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Ubaidullah ibn Abi Rafi’ could not be traced.
Muhammad ibn ‘Ubaidullah ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Rafi’ could also not be traced. The more famous name is actually Muhammad ibn ‘Ubaidullah ibn Abi Rafi’, and he is matruk (suspected of forgery).
Ahmed ibn Muhammad ibn Sa’id al Hamdani is Ibn ‘Uqdah. It has been previously mentioned that he is da’if (weak).
Ibn Hisham narrates — Ibn Ishaq said — Yazid ibn Ziyad narrated to me — from Muhammad ibn Ka’b al Qurazi who said, “When they gathered by his door, Abu Jahl ibn Hisham (who was among them) said, ‘Indeed, Muhammad claims that if you follow in his path (i.e. you accept his invitation to Islam).’” Thereafter, he mentioned a lengthy hadith that contains the incident of ‘Ali sleeping on the Prophet’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam bed.
The chain of transmission is Hassan (fair). However, it is mursal. Muhammad ibn Ka’b al Qurazi is a Tabi’i (follower of the Companions).
In short, the hadith is da’if (weak). As mentioned previously, some of the chains of transmission are mawdu’ (fabricated).
 ‘Abdul Razzaq: Musannaf ‘Abdul Razzaq, 5/389.
 Imam Ahmed: Musnad Ahmed, 1/348.
 Abu Hatim al Razi: Kitab al Jarh wa al Ta’dil, 6/174.
 Ibn Hajar: Fath al Bari, 7/236; ibn Kathir: al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 4/451.
 Ibn Hisham: Sirat Ibn Hisham, 2/89.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 42/67.
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 42/67.
 Al Hakim: Mustadrak al Hakim, hadith no. 4652.
 Al Hakim: Mustadrak al Hakim, hadith no. 4263.
 Saraqat al hadith (appropriating hadith) refers to when a narrator equips existing hadiths with his own isnads or constructing entirely new chains. [translator’s note]
 Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, 42/68.
 Ibn Hisham: Sirat Ibn Hisham, 2/91.