Despite the succession of times, however, Muhammad al-Shahrastani's statement in his famous book "al–Milalwa al-Nihal" which tackled Imamate (Imamah) and its history in Islam, will remain definitely true. Al-Shahrastani stated that the greatest dispute within the Islamic nation is the issue of the right to Imamate (Imamah) and leadership, adding that no religious fundament raised such a controversy except the issue of Imamate (Imamah).
While the Islamic history preserved several painful and shameful incidents during the Great fitnah, towards which Muslims had been, and still, divided and disagreeing; however, this history still preserves vivid and lively words and situations for a number of venerable companions who withdrew from this fitnah and renounced it altogether with all its dreadful incidents. These honorable words and situations are relevant to be mentioned at a time during which the lust for power and the political temptations arise, when, for the sake of such fitnah, people are killed, blood is shed, sanctions become permissible, the nation’s unity disintegrates, and people go astray and abandon guidance.
A common misconception is that, at the early time of the Great fitnah, all Muslims had fought one another, each and every one of them taking his sword and delving into the arena of this sedition. In fact, the ancient and the modern historical writings and narrations, depicted the situation as such because some historians were influenced and dominated by perverted passions and excessive bias. These narrations have contributed to spreading this false perception, although the true reality is shining under the cumulus of incidents that several groups of Muslims stepped aside from participating in such dreadful events. These groups were driven by various motivations; among them are renouncing the battle for power and authority, and perhaps, the whole world seemed to them insignificant and unworthy of sacrificing souls or shedding blood. Another motive is that, during fitnah, "Truth" seems to be ambiguous and blemished, and those who forsook the sedition could not distinguish between shining truths and dark deceptions.
There are various Muslim factions who detached themselves from fitnah, and all its reasons and justifications. They could be called "Early Mutazilah". Those are different from followers of the Islamic school of theology that emerged later and bore the name of "Mutazilah". Imam Abul Hasan al-Malty al-Asqalani mentioned in his book Al-Tanbeeh Wal Rad that the Early Mutazilah stayed in their houses and masjids and kept themselves busy with knowledge and worship, away from conflict over power and battlefields. They purified their hearts and hands from blood. Among the Early Mutazilah, three great Cohabiters became prominent. The three Cohabiters share three traits sensitivity, pure spirituality and fear of Allah almighty. They did not want to stain their swords and hands with the sanctified Muslim blood
The first one is the respectable Cohabiter Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas. He is one of the Ten Cohabiters Promised Paradise, was among the six-member committee appointed by Umar ibn al-Khattab on his deathbed to choose a new leader among themselves, was the first one to fight fi Sabil Allah, was one of those whom Prophet Muhammad (bpuh) was pleased with them before His death. He is the hero of the Battle of al-Qadisiyyah and the one who defeated the soldiers of Khosrau II. He is at the same time the most prominent Cohabiter who detached himself from fitnah, withheld his hands from plunging into it with his tongue, sword or arrow although he was a brave soldier who did not fear death. When he saw that fitnah was about to destroy the Islamic Ummah, he withheld his hands and tongue from approaching it instead of being biased in favor of one of its sides. When somebody used to urge him to take sides, he used to say his penetrating saying: "Bring me a sword that understands, sees, and speaks declaring which person is right and which person is wrong ". This saying should be reflected on by those who now drown into the manifest error of fitnah, seek false martyrdom and transient authority and respond to the temptation of rule:
The second one of the exalted companions, who "separated himself from" fitnah, is Abdullah Ibn Omar. He followed the Prophet's example and had many positive stances. When the fitnah was provoked, he left al-Madinah and went to Makkah to shun this strife. During the sedition of Ibn az-Zubair, two men came to Ibn Omar and said, "The people are lost, and you are the companion of the Prophet, so what forbids you from coming out?" He said his penetrating saying: "What forbids me is that Allah has prohibited the shedding of my brother's blood." He added, "We fought until there was no more sedition and the worship is for Allah, while you want to fight until there is sedition and until the worship becomes for another than Allah." Thus, the fight, which Ibn Omar refused to get involved in, was a fight among "Muslims". This fight was immersed into fitnah; its objective was the desire to come to power. How could such companion like Ibn Omar dye his hands with blood in pursuit of regime, while the Prophet (bpuh) said, "The best of men is Abdullah"!!!
The third one of these companions is the exalted companion Abu Barza al-Aslami. He witnessed an age of turmoil and seditions; Marwan and his sons in the Levant, Abdullah Ibn az-Zubair in Makkah and Qurraa in Basra. His breast was straitened with the conditions of the Ummah and the ongoing bloody dispute. One asked him, 'O Abu Baraza! Don't you see in what dilemma the people has fallen?" He said, "I seek reward from Allah for myself because of being angry and scornful at the Quraish tribe. O you Arabs! You know very well that you were in misery and were few in number and misguided, and that Allah has brought you out of all that with Islam and with Muhammad till he brought you to this state of prosperity and happiness which you see now, the one who is in Sham (i.e. Marwan), by Allah, is not fighting except for the sake of worldly gain, and those who are among you, by Allah, are not fighting except for the sake of worldly gain; and that one who is in Makkah (i.e. Ibn az-Zubair) by Allah, is not fighting except for the sake of worldly gain."
Could our Ummah learn this lesson of those exalted companions? Could our Ummah change this elusive concept of "Jihad" which has been transformed to be "fitnah" whose goal is trading the worship of Allah with the worship of power?
Could our Ummah disavow this "fitnah" which puts an end to sacrificing lives and shedding blood in a melancholic view to the universe steering it towards destruction and exctinction
Could our Ummah realize that the objectives of "Jihad" are security, safety, civilization and progress of this universe, as Allah wills? Martyrdom should be an evidence of the benevolence the Ummah stressing the values of, such as truth, justice, good, security and peace.