Migration to Abyssinia
The next step the Prophet took was aimed at preserving the Muslim community from increasing belligerance. He had heard much about the King of Abyssinia, who was known to be a just Christian ruler, one who would allow no persecution in his land. The Prophet directed the Muslim community to migrate to Abyssinia and to take shelter.
The first batch of Muslims migrated in the month of Rajab, five years after Muhammad had become a Prophet. Twelve men and four women made the journey across the red sea.
Uthman bin Affan was the leader of the group, accompanied by his wife, one of the Prophet’s daughters. Their voluntary exile marked the first instance of a family migrating for religious reasons since the time of Ibraheem and Lut (Lot) (Peace be upon them both).
Late one night the small group of immigrants slipped out of Makkah and made their way to Sha’iba, a port south of Jeddah. Fortunately, two cargo ships were present there. The group boarded the ship and sailed to Abyssinia. There they found the refuge they needed until Allah made it safe for them to return to Makkah.
When the Quraysh found out that a group of Muslims had fled, they erupted in anger. They swiftly sent some men to bring them back to teach them such a lesson that they would recant their faith. However, the Quraysh reached the coast too late – the Muslims had already made their way out to sea. Tired and disappointed, the Quraysh returned to Makkah to begin plotting their next move.