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date: 16 December 2017

Abstract and Keywords

Given the rich scientific tradition of the Muslim world, current levels of scientific production in predominantly Muslim countries are surprisingly low. A recent survey of the state of scientific production in Muslim countries found that forty-six predominantly Muslim countries produced 1.17 percent of the world's science literature between 1997 and 2007. The historical record provides evidence that religious diversity and religious tolerance helped constrain Islam's conservative elements for hundreds of years. This article examines the extent to which the behavior of Muslim religious authorities helps explain the evolution of Muslim scientific development in the premodern era. It begins by providing a brief overview of scientific production throughout Islamic history and then examines the role of religion in both the flourishing and stagnation of Muslim science. The conclusion provides suggestions for future research and examines the extent to which the historical evolution of Islam provides lessons for encouraging scientific progress today.

Keywords: Islam, science, Muslim countries, religion, scientific development, religious tolerance, religious diversity

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