"In my opinion, two causes stand in the way of implementing the Islamic Shariah and both are concerned with the trend of thinking:
The first cause: Negligence in the reform and personality-building of the individual Muslim, and undertaking social and collective activities without reforming the individuals.
The second cause: Sincere and thoughtful research work is needed on the subject of implementing Islam [in this age] and adequate work has not been done in this field."
-Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani in 1993 on the Afghan civil war and the rise and fall of many youth/student-driven Islamic movements around the world
In another lecture, he related how he was on a flight and struck up friendly conversation with the person sitting next to him. When they served food he noticed the man was obeying the usual custom of holding the fork in the left hand. When he told him he would be entitled to great reward if he followed the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet(saw) and ate with his right, the man said that these sort of inane matters that the molvis dwelled on were holding back the Muslims from emulating the success of the Western nations which had leaped far ahead. Mufti Usmani replied asking how far ahead he had gotten and how much more progress had he made in the time since he had began eating this way. Obviously, the guy had no response. When he told him that the only way for the Muslims to catch up was to turn back to the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet(saw), the man protested again saying that the Western nations did everything counter to the Sunnah and enjoyed great success and they did this because of the fact they were opposed to the Shariah (that it was backwards).
So Mufti Usmani related a story to him about a wise man in a village. In the village, a man climbed a date palm tree and had become stuck. He called for help and when the villagers got there they had no idea on how to get him down. So they went and asked the wise man. He told them to throw a rope up there, have him tie it around his waist, then pull down the rope. When they did that, the man fell out of the tree and died. When they told the wise man what happened he said he didn't know why he died, perhaps it was his destiny to die then and there. He said he had used the same method to pull people out of wells many times without incident.
That's the best analogy I've read to describe the state of Muslims today and how they are attempting progress.
The Islamic World was and still is in a different predicament than the West, one that requires a different solution. Those who think that success is possible by emulating the West and indulging in sins, disobedience, and actions counter to the Sunnah are incorrect. It is impossible for Muslims to do that. Even if they emulated the West 100%, as long as they were believers, they could not succeed. If, however, they lost their Islam and belief, then they could do as the West does and emulate their progress. This is also true in a way on the micro, personal/individual level.
The only way for Muslims to achieve progress and advancement is by sticking to the principles of their own civilization (the Sunnah) which is altogether different from the Western way. After all, the original Muslims leapfrogged the world with just one book, the Qur'an, while we can't do anything with thousands of books today.