Islam provided such impetus in the era 800-1200. Islam makes self-improvement of the individual and the betterment of society part of religious duty, inspiring individuals in all manners and forms.
Summarised extracts from a full article:
Islam and Science by Salah Zaimeche
For a society, or its individuals, to achieve any stride, any progress, any accomplishment, whatever its nature, in peace or at war, economic or personal, they require a strong incentive.
Islam provided such impetus in the era 800-1200, and whenever the people seized it after. Whenever they did not, they fell into the obscurity that has since shrouded them. Islam, moreover, makes self-improvement of the individual and the betterment of society part of religious duty, inspiring individuals in all manners and forms. That also included knowledge. Thus, throughout the Muslim land, the search for knowledge and science was undertaken in an effort to improve society as a form of worship.
The development of medicine, the construction and provision of hospitals, the building of hundreds of libraries and madrassas, the erection of beautiful gardens and green parks, and so much else, made the Muslim land an oasis of light in a darker surrounding.
Islam’s stress on excellence and search of perfection was also crucial to the thrust of civilisation. This explains the high standards in the knowledge of the sky and stars, extreme precision in surgery and ophthalmology, and accuracy in map making. It explains why the Muslims developed the experimentation method, mathematics and physics, and extremely accurate instruments. This is also why Muslim gardens, libraries and hospitals were run to standards unequalled today in much of the Muslim world. And this is why the Muslims wrote books that cared so much for the detail and were so precise, that hardly few Muslim writers would equal these days.
The same faith that propelled Muslims to spread Islam to the lands, also drove Muslims to spread learning and knowledge. And, of course, when most individuals, or the whole of society, are motivated for betterment, and are animated by such faith and fervour to create, search and invent, no surprise if science, scientists, schools, books and excellence burst in a huge, unequalled explosion as they did under Islam. Just a glimpse at George Sarton’s Introduction to the history of science, enlightens on the thousands of Muslim scientists and their science, which taught the world.(endnote 20)