كنت جالسا عند النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، فجاء رجل من اليمن، فقال: إن ثلاثة نفر من أهل اليمن أتوا عليا يختصمون إليه في ولد، وقد وقعوا على امرأة في طهر واحد. فقال لاثنين منهما: طيبا بالولد لهذا، فغليا، ثم قال لاثنين: طيبا بالولد لهذا، فغليا، فقال: أنتم شركاء متشاكسون، إني مقرع بينكم، فمن قرع فله الولد، وعليه لصاحبيه ثلثا الدية. فأقرع بينهم، فجعله لمن قرع. فضحك رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم حتى بدت أضراسه أو نواجذه.
I was sitting with the Prophet salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. A man came from the Yemen, and said, “Three men from the people of the Yemen came to ‘Ali, arguing about a child, asking him to give a decision. They each had sexual intercourse with a woman during a single state of purity”’ He said to two of them, “Give this child to this man (the third person) with pleasure.” But they (refused and) cried loudly. Again, he said to two of them, “Give the child to the man (the third person) willingly.” But they (refused and) cried loudly. He then said, “You are quarrelsome partners. I shall cast lots among you; therefore, whoever receives the lot, the child will be his, and he shall pay two-thirds of the blood-money to both his companions.” He then cast lots among them, and gave the child to the one who received the lot. (Upon hearing of the incident,) the Messenger of Allah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam laughed so much that his premolars or molars could be seen.
Abu Dawood, al Nasa’i, Ahmed, and others narrate — from al Ajlah — from al Sha’bi — from ‘Abdullah ibn al Khalil — from Zaid ibn Arqam.
Imam Ahmed and others add, “That (i.e. the incident) was mentioned to Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and he said, ‘I do not know different to what ‘Ali said radiya Llahu ‘anhu.’”
(The author says) there is a difference of opinion regarding the status of al Ajlah. Ibn Hajar transmits from al ‘Uqayli who said, “He narrates from al Sha’bi ahadith mudtaribah (unresolvably problematic) that do not enjoy any mutaba’at (parallel narrations).”
I did not find him in al ‘Uqayli’s Kitab al Du’afa’. After including the hadith, the following words appear, “The hadith has a mudtarib (unresolvably problematic) chain of transmission; close to being da’if (weak).”
Shu’ayb al Arna’ut extensively mentioned the difference of opinion regarding this hadith. He concluded that the chain of transmission is da’if (weak) because it is mudtarib (unresolvably problematic).
 Abu Dawood: Sunan Abi Dawood, hadith no. 2269; al Nasa’i: al Sunan al Sughra, hadith no. 3490 and al Sunan al Kubra, hadith no. 5654; Ahmed: Musnad Ahmed, 4/374.
 Ibn Hajar: Tahdhib al Tahdib, 1/165.
 Imam Ahmed: Musnad Ahmed (ed. Shu’ayb al Arna’ut), 32/76.