The Muslims lived in Abyssinia (Ethiopia) unmolested for a number of years. During this period were the Muslims in Arabia subjected to the Meccan boycott of the Hashemites (617), the Year of Sorrow (619), Muhammad’s visit to Ta’if (620), the Isra and Mi’raj (621) and finally the Migration to Medina (622). The Muslims in Ethiopia would not return to Arabia and reunited with their fellow Muslims in Medina until in AH 7 (628/629).
The emigrants returned to Arabia in three groups.
This first return was in the period of the boycott of the Hashimites, i.e. between September 616 and April 619. Thirty-three men and six women plus children “heard that the Meccans had accepted Islam and they set out for the homeland. But when they got near Mecca they learned that the report was false, so that they entered the town under the protection of a citizen or by stealth.”
The second return was “after the Battle of Badr” (i.e., March 624) but before Khaybar (May–July 628). Twenty-eight men and three women plus children returned to Medina. As there is no record of a large-group return, it is probable that each family travelled separately and at different times.
The third return consisted of all the Muslims who were still living in Abyssinia: seventeen men, seven women and seven children. The Negus sent them to Medina “in two boats”, presumably at his own expense, in June or July 628. Ibn Ishaq records that one woman and three of her children died on the return journey “from drinking foul water”.
Ibn Ishaq also names seven men and three women who died in Abyssinia.