This research is not to deny that ‘Ali (ra) was “not the one who flee”, but since Shiites may use it to show that Abu Bakr (ra) and ‘Umar (ra) were the one who fled away from the battle of Khaybar therefore I made went into depth of this particular addition. This is a version of very famous hadith on the merit of ‘Ali (ra) quoted in authentic book. But the addition under discussion has different story. This discussion is a part of my ongoing work on shia encyclopedia. Quoting from “A Shiite Encyclopedia”:
“I will give the standard tomorrow to a man who loves Allah and his Prophet, and whom Allah and his Prophet love, (a man) who will be steadfast and will not flee”.
The next day Allah’s Apostle gave ‘Ali the flag and Allah granted victory under his leadership. (See Sahih al-Bukhari, Arabic-English version, Traditions 5.52, 5.520)
I could not find the hadith in Sahih Bukhari with the addition of “who will be steadfast and will not flee” neither do I see such sentence in the English translation of Sahih Bukhari by Muhsin Khan and Al-Hilali. Imam Bukhari has mentioned this hadith at seven places in Sahih Bukhari; twice in the book on Merits of Companions, and twice in the Book of Maghazi and thrice in the book of Jihad. Nowhere does this meaning exist.
However, I found this tradition with the addition of “He is not the one who flees” as follows:
- It has been reported in Musnad (778) of Imam Ahmad, Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah (32080), Ibn Majah (117) and others through the chain of Muhammad bin Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Lailah from Minhaal from Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Lailah who report the incident of his father with Ali (ra) which include this hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Muhammad bin Abdur-Rahman bin Abi Lailah was the one regarding whom Shu’bah said, “I have not seen a person who has as bad memory as Ibn Abi Lailah.”
- Ibn Ishaq reports it in Seerah  and through him At-Tabrani in “Al-Kabeer” (7/35) through Buraidah bin Sufyan bin Farwah from his father from Salamah bin Akwa’ (ra). Buraidah bin Sufyan is not reliable. [Meezan (1/306)] His father remains unknown as no one considered him reliable except Ibn Hibban as per his standard rejected by other scholars.
- Ibn Abi Shaibah in Musannaf (36894) through Nu’aim bin Hakeem from Abu Maryam [Ath-Thaqafi] from ‘Ali (ra). Nu’aim bin Hakeem who is disputed upon among scholars. [ Tahdheeb al-Kamal (29/464), Meezan (4/267)]
Abu Maryam Qais Ath-Thaqafi al-Kufi was Majhool as per the statement of Ad-Daarqutni and Ibn Hajar. [Tahdheeb at-Tahdheeb (12/232)] An-Nasai mentioned a narrator “Abu Maryam Qais al-Hanafi” and declared him Thiqah. According to Ibn Hajar this is a Wahm of A-Nasai as the name of Abu Maryam al-Hanafi was Iyas bin Sabeeh not Qais. Abu Maryam Iyas bin Sabeeh Al-Hanafi was a Qadhi of Basrah by the command of Abu Musa al-Ash’ari and he narrated from Umar bin al-Khattab and ‘Uthman, and his son Abdullah and Ibn Sireen have narrated from him as stated by Abu Ahmad al-Hakim in his book Al-Kuna. While Abu Maryam Qais Ath-Thaqafi al-Madaini was a different person who narrate from Ali and ‘Ammar. Refer to Tahdheeb of Ibn Hajar. And Allah knows best.
- Imam Nasai narrates it in Al-Kubra (8458) under “Khasais ‘Ali” through Muhammad [bin Ishaq] from Abdullah bin Abi Najeeh from his father from Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas (ra). Muhammad bin Ishaq is mudallis of the fourth category and besides that Abu Najeeh did not hear from Sa’d and hence Abu Hatim said regarding this Isnad that it is Mursal. [Al-Jarh wa at-Ta’deel (9/306)]
And Allah knows best