Ibn Katheer mentioned: It is prevalent in the words of many authors that when Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) is mentioned, he is distinguished from other companions by either the saying: Peace be upon him, or Allah exalt his face. Even if its’ meaning is correct, it is appropriate to treat the companions in like manners, because this is a matter of veneration and exaltation, and the two sheikhs; Abu Bakr and Umar and the Commander of the believers, Uthman, are most worthy of it than him. As-Saffarini quoted this from Ibn Katheer’s book “Ghizaau al-Albaab”.
Then Al-Saffarini said: This had spread and circulated and filled the hearts and ears. The scholars said: he was distinguished with the saying “Allah exalt his face” because he never prostrated to an idol, and this, if Allah wills, there is nothing wrong with it. This is what was said, and the reason may be other than that, nut there is no valid support for what is said.