Many attribute the saying “The truth left me with no friends” to Imam Ali (as). After some research I have not been able to find this in any of the Shia or even Non-Shia books of Hadiths. So who was it who said this statement?
We find that this statement was said by one of the closest companions of Imam Ali (as) – Abu Dharr al-Ghaffaari (ra).
It was uttered in the final days of his life days when Uthmaan bin Affaan had expelled him into the plains of Rabadha, along with his family to die alone in the heat and starvation. This was because Abu Dharr (ra) would not stop exposing Uthmaan, Mu’awiyah and Bani Umayyah and their many treacheries – while Abu Dharr (ra) remained loyal to Ali bin abi Taleb (as).
In Bihaar al-Anwaar, we read from a long tradition (translated part underlined in image):
And he (Abu Dharr) said in Rabadha: “The Truth left me with no friends”
Source: Bihaar al-Anwaar, al-Majlisi (rh), Volume 31, Page 180 (See Image below)
Abu Dharr (ra) said: “I did not stop promoting good, and forbidding evil, until the Truth left me with no friends“
Source: al-Durr al-Manthoor, Volume 5, Page 358 (See Image below)
The source of this Hadīth is originally a Sunnī source. The first time this narration has been mentioned (Which is a small part of a longer narration) was in al-Shāfī fe al-Imāmmah wa Ibtāl ḥujaj al-Āmmah by al-Shareef al-Murt’dhā Ali b. al-Hussain al-Mūsawi (Born 355 AH, Died 436 AH) who is a Shi‘ī Imamī scholar. al-Shareef al-Murt’dhā wrote the book to those who oppose the Imamīyah, and was written in reply to the book Kitāb al-Mug͟hni by A‘bd al-Jabār al-Mu‘tazili (Died 415 AH) who was a Sunnī Shaf‘ī, one of the teahers of al-Shareef al-Murt’dhā at the time. Al-Majlisī is in his Bihār al-Anwar, in infact quoting from al-Shareef al-Murt’dhā book, if you look at the footnotes (#8) of the scanned image, of al-Bihār, you can see that clearly. Therefore this is not a Shī’ee narration.
We have also found this interesting narration in the ‘Sunni’ book, Jami` at-Tirmidhi. Interestingly, Ali (as) DOES say this line. However, it is attributed to Umar! Although it is weak by ‘Sunni’ standards also – simply looking at the content we can tell it is a weak hadith!
Narrated ‘Ali bin Abi Talib:
that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: “May Allah have mercy upon Abu Bakr, he married me to his daughter, and he carried me to the land of Hijrah, and he freed Bilal with his wealth. May Allah have mercy upon ‘Umar, he says the truth even if it is sour. The truth caused him to be left without a friend. May Allah have mercy upon ‘Uthman, the angels are shy of him. May Allah have mercy upon ‘Ali. O Allah! Place the truth with him wherever he turns.”
Source: Jami` at-Tirmidhi, English reference: Vol. 1, Book 46, Hadith 3714, Arabic reference: Book 49, Hadith 4079.
Grading (by ‘Sunni’ standards): Da’if (Darussalam).