The author is Abu al Qasim ‘Ali ibn al Hassan ibn Hibat Allah, famously known as Ibn ‘Asakir (d. 571 A.H.).
…عن معروف بن خربوذ عن ابى الطفيل عن حذيفة بن اسيد الغفارى لما قفل رسول الله صلى الله علبه و سلم من حجة الوداع نهى اصحابه عن شجرات بالبطحاء متقاربات ان ينزلوا احولهن ثم بعث اليهن فصلى تحتهن ثم قام فقال ايها الناس انه قد نبانى اللطيف الخبير… و انى سائلكم حين تردون على عن الثقلين فانظرو كيف تخلفونى فيهما الثقل الاكبر كتاب الله عز و جل طرفه بيدالله وطرفه بايديكم فاستمسكوا به ولا تضلوا ولا تبدلوا وعترتى اهل بيتى فانه قد نبانى اللطيف الخبير انهما لن يفترقا حتى يردا على الحوض قال ابن كثير رواه ابن عساكر بطوله عن طريق معروف كما ذكرنا
Ma’ruf ibn Kharrabudh — Abu al Tufayl — from Hudhayfah ibn Usayd al Ghifari:
Whilst returning from Hajjat al Wada’, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam forbade his companions from settling beneath a few trees that were close to one-another. Thereafter he sent for them and performed salah beneath them. Thereafter he stood up and said< “O people! The One who knows the finest details and is aware of everything has informed me… I will ask you when you meet me regarding the al Thaqalayn, so beware of how you succeed me regarding them. The greater of the two is the Book of Allah—the Exalted and Majestic—one end is in your hands and the other end is with Allah. Hold firmly onto it and do not deviate or change. And (the other is) my Ahlul Bayt. The One who knows the finest details and is aware of everything has informed me that they will not separate until they meet me at the pond.” Ibn Kathir says, “Ibn ‘Asakir narrated it in its entirety from Ma’ruf as we have explained.”
We quoted this isnad from al Bidayah wa al Nihayah of Ibn Kathir, as we do not have a copy of the book of Ibn ‘Asakir. If we did have a copy, we would have discussed the entire isnad. Nevertheless, the portion of the isnad that is available is sufficient for us to realise the level of its unreliability. This narration has been narrated by Ma’ruf ibn Kharrabudh, who narrates from Abu Tufayl ‘Amir ibn Wathilah who in turn narrates from Hudhayfah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. We already discussed, in detail the position of Ma’ruf under the narration of Nawadir al-Usul by Hakim al Tirmidhi. The essence is that Ma’ruf is a Shia who is considered da’if by the Muhaddithin. He is a famous narrator of their four fundamental books. Referring to the following rijal books of the Shia will testify to what we have mentioned, Rijal al Tafrishi, Tanqih al Maqal of al Mamaqani, and Jami’ al Ruwat. Thus, we cannot accept the narration of someone who both parties agree upon him being a Shia, especially since it is something that strengthens his viewpoint.
Even if this narration has to be accepted as sahih, it does not serve the intended purpose which the claimants of love for the Ahlul Bayt assert. This is because the hadith contains no such wording from which obedience and holding onto the Ahlul Bayt could be deduced. Therefore this narration does not prove the argument for which it is presented.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah vol. 6 pg. 349
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