The status of Ali bin Abu Talib
Abu Hurayrah (radi Allahu anhu) reported, On the day of the battle of Khaibar, the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “I shall hand over this banner to one who loves Allah and His Messenger, and Allah will give us victory through him.” Umar (radi Allahu anhu) said, “I had never longed for leadership but that day I expected that I might be called for. However, the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) called Ali bin Abu Talib (radi Allahu anhu) and handed the banner to him and said, “Go forth and do not turn around till Allah bestows victory upon you”. (On hearing this) Ali proceeded a little and then halted and without turning around inquired in a loud voice: “O Messenger of Allah, for what shall I fight them?” He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) replied, “Go on fighting till they affirm that none has the right to be worshiped but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. If they admit that, their lives and their properties will be secured, subject to their obligations according to Islam, and they will be answerable to Allah.”
1. This Hadith refers to the prominence, special distinction and greatness of Ali (radi Allahu anhu)
2. It mentions the miracle of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) in the form of his prophecy about the conquest of Khaibar which came true.
3. Islamic sanctions would be applied on the apparent conduct of the people. Thus, a person who would announce his acceptance of Islam, will be considered a Muslim. What is hidden in his heart will be left to Allah. He will, however, be punished with retaliation (Qisas) in case of unjust murder and execution for apostasy.
And Allah Knows Best!