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In other words, the empirical variability of Islam is not simply an analytical computer games for anthropologists, historians, or other academics concerned with comparing Islamic beliefs and practices in different places and or times. Most Muslims, I strongly suspect, are aware of the existence of different conceptions of Islam from the ones they hold, of alternative ideas and practices that also lay claim to the name of Islam, but that are, to some degree, if not radically, inconsistent with their own.
At the center of these conceptions are questions about what it means to be Muslim in other words, about what ideas and, especially, what practices are acceptable, desirable, or obligatory, or else objectionable, if not prohibited. Conceptions of Islam, as opposed to one another in0. specific places and times, revolve around disagreements over the status of specific practices, about the ways in which Muslims ought to act and the computer games significance of different forms of action. It might seem reasonable to assimilate these different conceptions of Islam to so many different interpretations of Islam. After all, Islam is not only a scriptural religion but, compared with other scriptural religions, a highly textual one. Answers to these questions are to be found in the texts; indeed, that is the very purpose of many, if not most, of these texts.
However, like all texts, they are not free of ambiguities, and so they can be read in different ways. Western scholars (and probably many non-Western scholars) are inclined to explain different doctrines and practices in computer games of different readings of the texts. However, this is not at all how Muslims in Koko explain such differences or, more critically, conceive of their own beliefs and practices in the light of potentially contradictory ones.
For example, the standard textbook of Maliki fiqh , the Risala of Ibn Abi Zayd al-Qayrawani (68 173), states that the minimum marriage portion must be one-fourth of a dinar. The Muslims of Koko and surrounding communities are aware of and respect this stipulation, so that one of the prestations involved in any marriage transaction is the robon dinari , the fourth of a dinar. The computer games is that dinars have never been used in the region as a unit of currency. This is not in itself insurmountable, as long as some standard equivalent in gold, cowrie shells, colonial or post-colonial currency is socially recognized.
Indeed, when I was inquiring in the field about marriage practices in 73, I easily found such standardized equivalents. However, while it was certainly not the case that each particular village had its own unique equivalent, it became obvious that such equivalents were subject to local variation. The point is that these specific equivalences, and the fact that they might in fact vary, were never conceived as specific interpretations of the general rule. Indeed, to speak of an interpretation in the first place is to recognize, at least tacitly, that the text in question is ambivalent, that it can in fact be read in different ways,1. even if only one of these readings is deemed to be correct. On the contrary, informants asserted that the rule was perfectly straightforward a valid marriage had to include the payment of one-fourth of a dinar.