Mobility is a powerful resource young people can draw on to improve their lives, but it can also entail risks. This paper explores how mobility becomes a contradictory resource for peripatetic Qur'anic students (almajirai) in Kano State in northern Nigeria. Moving to urban areas allows the young almajirai to escape difficult conditions and to access educational and income opportunities absent in their rural homes. It makes it possible for them to adopt self-conceptions as migrants in search of sacred knowledge who were once widely respected. However, economic decline has made survival in the city more difficult. Lacking the economic and cultural resources to participate in displays of status, and without social superiors to speak for them, the almajirai feel they have become fair game for those searching for scapegoats.