عن عبد الله بن مسعود، قال: إن الله نظر في قلوب العباد، فوجد قلب محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم خير قلوب العباد، فاصطفاه لنفسه، فابتعثه برسالته، ثم نظر في قلوب العباد بعد قلب محمد، فوجد قلوب أصحابه خير قلوب العباد، فجعلهم وزراء نبيه، يقاتلون على دينه، فما رأى المسلمون حسنا، فهو عند الله حسن، وما رأوا سيئا فهو عند الله سيئ
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud, may Allah be pleased with him, said, “Verily, Allah looked at the hearts of the servants and He found that the heart of Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, was the best among them, so He choose him for Himself and He sent him with His message. Then, He looked at the hearts of His servants after Muhammad, and He found that the hearts of his companions were the best among them. Thus, He made them into the ministers of His Prophet, fighting for the sake of His religion. And whatever the Muslims view as good is good in the sight of Allah, and whatever they view as evil is evil in the sight of Allah.”
Source: Musnad Ahmad
I'm confused, because when I read this hadith,it gives me an idea that ALLAH was looking for someone to give Prophethood.
This seems to go against my understanding of Al-Qur'an and Sunnah. I mean everything was planned by ALLAH and then executed. It was destined that Muhammad (PBUH) will be last prophet and messenger. I can prove this by multiple Aayats and hadiths.
Is this hadith even authentic? Because Musnad Ahmad isn't included in 6 most authentic books of hadiths.
Please share opinion of scholars?