Religious Entrepreneurship and Female Migration: The Case of a Muslim Religious Leader in Masqan, Ethiopia
- Africa Today
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 67, Numbers 2 & 3, Winter 2020 / Spring 2021
- pp. 63-83
- Additional Information
As poverty and unemployment remain widespread in Ethiopia, the number of women who travel to the Gulf States in search of employment continues to rise. Often, when they face problems, these women cannot rely on protection from local authorities or the Ethiopian government; rather, to ensure their security and success while in the Gulf, they invest money in obtaining divine protection. This article, which discusses rituals involving gift giving and the transmission of baraka, focuses on a self-sanctified Muslim leader who has adapted existing ritual practices to meet female migrants' needs. We examine how established, customary spiritual relationships have been transformed in a way that addresses these women's hopes and fears. We explore how these changing practices address each party's interests: the women see them as a source of security and prosperity, and they provide the religious leader with a sustainable source of wealth.