Sufyan b. ‘Uyainah heard Ja’far al-Sadiq narrating from his father [al-baqir] from Jabir b. ‘Abdullah that ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (ra) said while looking at the shrouded body of ‘Umar (ra): “No one is more beloved to me with whose book (of deeds) I would like to meet Allah than the book (of deeds) of this shrouded person.”
Sufyan b. ‘Uyaina said: To this narration a person Sudair al-Sairafi said who was present with us (in majlis of Ja’far al-Sadiq), “Why is that? By Allah, what is in the book of deeds of Ja’far is better than the book of deeds of ‘Umar.”
Sufyan said: I intended to break his nose but Hasan b. ‘Umarah said, “Leave him. He is a misguided person.” [Al-Da’afa (2/179) by al-‘Uqaili, Tarikh Dimashq (44/452-453), also in “Tarikh” of Yaqoob b. Sufyan al-Fasawi through the chain of al-Humaidi from Sufyan]
We can see the mentality of Rawafidh even during the era when many Taba’een were living that they were not ready to accept Fazail of ‘Umar (ra) even when narrated by scholars of Ahlul bayt like Ja’far b. Muhammad al-Sadiq. Interestingly, this Sudair is one of the well known narrators in shia hadith books. This gives an idea how shi’ism developed during the course of time.
This incident of ‘Ali praising ‘Umar on his death has been narrated with many chains from Abu Ja’far al-Baqir father of al-Sadiq.
From al-Baqir following narrators narrated it:
- Ja’far his son.
- Abu Hanifa
- Hajjaj b. Dinar al-Wasiti
- ‘Amr b. Dinar
- ‘Abdul Wahid b. Ayman
From al-Sadiq following narrators heard this:
- Sufyan b. ‘Uyaina
- Anas b. ‘Ayaz al-Laithi
- Sulaiman b. Bilal
- Hatim b. Isma’eel
- Wuhaib b. Khalid
- Fuzail b. Marzooq
So there remains no doubt that this has been narrated by Al-Baqir and then Al-Sadiq after him. Note that most narrators narrate it as a Mursal of Abu Ja’far al-Baqir while Sufyan mentioned Jabir b. ‘Abdullah as the missing narrator in the sanad. Al-Daarqutni suggest Mursal is correct. Than means Al-Baqir directly attributed this to ‘Ali without mentioning Jabir. Allah knows best.
Narration of Zaid b. ‘Ali [Imam of Zaydiyyah]: Ibn Sa’d narrate it in Tabaqat (3/283) through Fadl b. Dukain who heard it from Bassam al-Sairafi who hear it from Zaid b. ‘Ali who narrated it from ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (ra). All the narrators of this chain are reliable.
Narration of Ibn ‘Abbas: Also, this hadith is narrated in connected form in Bukhari (3685) and Muslim (2389) from the hadith of Ibn ‘Abbas who witnessed ‘Ali stating this, but my concern was to show that Imams of Shia also narrated praise of ‘Umar.
Allah knows best.