Even though many reasons are cited for the decline of Islamic Science in the late 15th century, like the Mongol invasion, crusades, loss of international trade etc, the one reason which may not project out in our conventional investigation is the:
“Muslims’ Rejection of Printing Technology”.
Worlds first printed Quran was produced in Venice and not in the Islamic world. And it is obvious by first glance that it is printed by people who didn’t speak Arabic well, in a child like, clumsy handwriting.
Printing of Quran was a big failure also in the business point of view because Muslims didn’t accept the printing press for centuries. Much of the copies were destroyed and only one is left in Venice now. The failure of printed Quran to catch hold in the Islamic world speaks volumes. 800 years earlier, for the Islamic science to be successful has been the precision of Arabic language. It allowed scholars from different lands to communicate in a single language. Now with the arrival of printing press, the scientific ideas should have travelled more even freely. In the west, books printed in Latin accelerated scientific renaissance. Because of its symbols and extra letters Arabic was much harder to be set and press, a similar acceleration in the Islamic world failed to materialize.
This rejection of the new technology of printing press marks the period in history where Arabic science undergoes a seismic shift. Europe embraced the Arabic and Greek knowledge and the new technology. Acceptation of printing meant the acceptation of the first important technology. From this point the two histories of east and west, which was once combined, started to separate. This initial rejection was one of the many reasons for the Islamic science to fall behind the west.
Lessons: Keep the technology upto date. Be not negligent to try out new technologies and to redirect them to the use of mankind. Maintain the pace or be prepared to loose.

This was investigated by Jim Al-Khalili, Professor of Physics at the University of Surrey and is documented for BBC- Science and Islam documentary. It is in 3 parts and can be downloaded from torrentz.com. (Install BitTorrent software first and then Search for “BBC- Science and Islam Jim Al Khalili “and download the torrent file. Click on it to start the download).
Here’s another good article for further reading on this subject:
http://www.history-science-technology.com/Articles/articles%208.htm

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