And what must change so that science can flourish in Muslim countries?
While Islam has yet to reconcile faith and reason, other factors such as dictatorial regimes and unstable funding are more important obstacles to science and technology's again flourishing in the Muslim world.
The Suez Canal, opened in 1869, reduced shipping time and distance and generated new trade.
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Even revisionist historians who challenge this date as the time that decline set in do accept that decline eventually took place.
Thus, Marshall Hodgson -- who argues that the eastern Muslim world flourished until the sixteenth century, when "the Muslim people, taken collectively, were at the peak of their power" -- acknowledges that by the end of the eighteenth century, Muslims "were prostrate." Whatever its timing, this decline meant that Muslims failed to learn from Europe.
Within years, some rulers -- led by Muhammad `Ali of Egypt -- recruited European technicians and sent students to Europe. An extraordinarily rapid diffusion of Western technologies throughout most of the Middle East took place in the period 1850-1914.
With the approval of local elites, European colonial authorities imposed public-health measures to contain cholera, malaria, and other contagious diseases.
This golden age was definitely Muslim in that it took place in predominantly Muslim societies, but was it Islamic, that is, connected to the religion of Islam?