Some spuriously criticize the Shia for having an over excessive love for the Prophet’s family and they diminish the dignity of the Companions because they prefer Imam Ali and his family above all the other Companions.
Many traditions mentioned in Sunni books show that Imam Ali had been preferred above all the other Companions. Prophet Muhammad (s) says: Of whomsoever I had been guardian, Ali here is to be his guardian.
He also said addressing Imam Ali: You are to me as was Aaron to Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me.
The tradition of “the bird’ shows that Imam Ali was the most beloved of Allah after His Messenger Muhammad (s).
The Prophet (s) said: I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate.”
The Prophet Muhammad (s) ordered all the doors of his Companions that opened to the mosque to be closed except the door of Imam Ali.
The prophet (s) said: Ali and I are the fathers of this nation.
People are from various trees but I and Ali are from one tree.
There are three veracious people and Ali bin Abu Talib is the best of them.
Many other hadiths in this regard are mentioned in Sunni and Shiite reference books.
The Prophet Muhammad (s) had instituted the bonds of brotherhood between his Companions and said to Ali, You are my brother, as it was mentioned in Sunni books narrated by ibn Abbas, Sa’id bin al-Musayyab, ibn Umar, Zayd bin Abu Awfa, Anas bin Malik, Zayd bin Arqam, Hudhayfa bin al-Yaman, Makhduj bin Zayd, Abu Umama, Jami’ bin Umayr, Jabir bin Abdullah, Abu Sa’id, Abdur-Rahman bin Aweym and Abu Hurayra.
Ahmad bin Hanbal mentioned in his book Faza’ilus- Sahaba a tradition narrated by Akrima, that was heard from ibn Abbas that the Prophet Muhammad (s) said: There is no Qur’anic verse that begins with “O you who believe,’ without Ali being their (i.e. those who believe) head, leader, and their distinction. Allah has censured the Prophet’s Companions in the Qur’an but He did not mention Ali save in praise.
The same was also mentioned in Dhakha’ir ul Uqba p.89, Egyptian Edition.
It was also mentioned by at-Tabarani and ibn Abu Hatim in As-Sawa’iq ul-Muhriqa p. 125; Egyptian Edition, and Tarikh ul-Khulafa’ (History of the Caliphs) p. 116; Lahore Edition.
Abu Na’im mentioned in his book Hilyatul- Awliya’ vol.1 p. 64; Egyptian edition, a tradition narrated by ibn Abbas that the Prophet Muhammad (s) had said: Allah had not revealed any verse beginning with “O you who believe,’ unless Ali was its head and amir.
Ahmad bin Hanbal sums it up for Imam Ali when he said, ‘No one of the Prophet’s Companions had virtues like that of Ali bin Abu Talib.’
This saying has been mentioned in many books; al- Mustadrak, al-Isti’aab, al-Kamil of ibn ul-Athir, Kifayat ut-Talib, ar-Riyazun-Nazira, Tahthib ut-Tahthib, Fat- hul-Bari fi Sharh il-Bukhari, Tarikh ul-Khulafa’, as-Sira al-Halabiyah, ar-Rawzul-Azhar, Is’aaf ur-Raaghibin and others.
There is a tradition, which was agreed upon by the Sunnis showing the preference of Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, (peace be upon her) over all others.
The Prophet said: Fatima is the chief of women of Paradise.
This hadith has been narrated by some Companions: Hudhayfa bin al-Yamaan as in Sahih ut-Tirmidhi vol. 13 p.197, Aa’isha as in Sahih ul-Bukhari vol. 4 p. 203, and Umm Salama in Sahih ut-Tirmidhi vol. 13 p. 250.
There is also an agreed upon tradition among Sunnis showing the preference of Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn.
The Prophet (s) said: Hasan and Husayn are the masters of the young men of Paradise.
This hadith was narrated by some Companions of the prophet: Abu Sa’id al-Khudri as in Sahih ut-Tirmidhi vol. 13 p. 190, Musnad of Ahmad vol. 3 p. 3., Hudhayfa as in Sahih ut-Tirmidhi vol. 13 p. 197, and by Abdullah bin Umar in the Sunan of ibn Maja vol. 1 p. 56.
The Sura Al-Insaan (76) was revealed concerning Imam Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husayn. In addition, the Qur’anic Verse of purification:
Allah only desires to keep away uncleanness from you, O People of the House, and to purify you with a thorough purification. (Quran 33:33),
was revealed concerning them. This has been narrated by many of the Prophet’s Companions such as Wathila bin al- Asqa’, Amr bin Abu Salama, Aa’isha, Umm Salama , Sa’d bin Abu Waqqas, Abu Sa’id, Imam Ali, Ja’far bin Abu Talib, Abu Barza, Sabih, ibn Abbas, Anas, Abul-Hamra’, Atiyah, Sahl bin Sa’d, Abu Hurayra, Burayda, Abdullah bin Umar, Imran bin al-Husayn, Salama bin al-Aqua’ , Ma’qil bin Yasaar, and Abdullah bin az-Zubeir. This has been mentioned by al-Heythami in his book Majma’uz-Zawa’id and as-Suyuti in his book al-Jami’us-Saghir narrated by al-Bazzaz p. 113 and by ibn Hajar in his as-Sawa’iq ul- Muhriqa p. 184 and Miftah un-Naja p. 9, Yanabi’ul- Mawaddah p. 187, al-Fat-hul-Kabir p. 133, Arjahul- Matalib p. 330, as-Sayf ul-Yamani al-Maslul p. 9. And it has also been narrated by Aamir bin Wathila, which was mentioned by al-Hafiz ad-Dulabi in his book al-Kuna wa al-Asma’ vol. 1 p. 76. It was narrated by Salama bin al- Aqua’ which was mentioned by ibnul-Maghazili and ash- Shafi’i in his book al-Manaqib, and mentioned in other Sunni books like Arjah ul-Matalib p. 330 and Yanabi’ul- Mawaddah p. 28. Also it was narrated by Imam Ali, which was mentioned by Muhibbud-Din at-Tabari in his book Dhakha’ir ul-Uqba p. 20 from ibnus-Seri.