A large number of theories, researches, books, conferences and entities have been adopting the third way since the beginning of the third millennium as far as political Islam is concerned.
Some people came to call this third way “moderation”. The proponents of this theory defend it by saying that the Islamic religion is a moderate religion, even as moderation in Islam is more about balance than being of no opinion.
Some of these proponents, including Salman al-Auda, defended the third way as a reflection of moderation in Islam and as a way of accepting those with different beliefs and co-existing with them.
Politician Ayman Nour wrote a series of articles at the end of 2011. He called them “Third Way”. Nour declared his plans two years earlier to found a political party that would adopt the third way.
Political science professor Seif Abdel Fattah, meanwhile, summed up the whole matter by referring to two rival projects in the region. He said these projects were the one called the “Moderate nation”, and the other called “New Middle East”.
Youssef al-Qaradawi is the strongest defender of this theory. His book “Our nation between two centuries”, which was released in 2000, is the most eloquent defense of the theory. He says in the book that the third millennium is one about creating a common ground between Muslims and Christians.
In 1997, al-Qaradawi launched Islam Online site, which was affiliated to the Qatari al-Balagh Society. He wrote in his introductory speech about the site that it would promote moderation.
Sheikh al-Qaradawi received support from Sheikha Mouza as he launched the site. He then launched the al-Qaradawi Islamic Moderation and Renewal Center.
The transformations that happened in the thinking of this scholar made him break away with everything he said in 1977. He suddenly turned into a staunch advocate of democracy. He also broke away from his old Salafist Muslim Brotherhood way of thinking. This man is now known only for calling for moderation.
Qaradawi adopted the al-Wasat Party which was formed by a group of Muslim Brotherhood dissidents. He also backed a candidate in the presidential elections in Egypt other than Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The New York Times described the same candidate, namely Abdel Monem Abul Fotouh as “a pioneer of moderation”. Some observers, meanwhile, called for considering this a new trend in Islamist thinking.
It became clear then that a new Islamist project was in the making, one that goes hand in hand with the new international system. Some people, however, viewed the proponents of this project as serving the interests of the capitalist empire around the world, in general, and in the Middle East, in particular.
These developments opened the door for the following:
- The emergence of the classical Muslim Brotherhood organization.
- The emergence of Islam Online which was led by Hesham Gaafar and sponsored by al-Qaradawi.
- The emergence of Islamic renewal calls.
- The emergence of Egypt as a model case for Social Islam.
- The founding of the al-Wasat Party.