Khadijuh Bint Khuwaylid
Khadijuh Bint Khuwaylid was born circa 555 and died circa 619, although some suggest she could have lived as late as 623. Khadijuh comes down through the historical record as Muhammad's first and dearest wife, as well as his first convert. The title of dearest wife is disputed by some, as verbatim it is recorded that Muhammad referred to Aishah as his dearest wife. However, it is fairly clear from his actions during the life of Khadijuh, to whom he was monogamous until the day of her death, that Muhammad considered Khadijuh something special amongst women.
Khadijuh's story provides some difficulty to the detractors of Islam, who argue along the lines of the treatment of women in this totalitarian system of life. Khadijuh broke all the rules that are traditionally attributed to Islamic civilization. Khadijuh selected her own husband, proposed to him, ran her own business, used her husband as a subservient trading partner, and finally dared to advise her husband publicly.
Khadijuh and Muhammad crossed paths, although probably not for the first time, when Muhammad was 25, cc 595. Khadijuh was a aging but wealthy (and widowed) caravan merchant whose trade reached far north from Mecca into Syria and far south into the Sassanian Satrapy in southern Arabia. In this guise she invited the young Muhammad, already reputed as an honest and fair man, to be her proxy or agent in dealings in the north and the south. From this travels it is theorized that Muhammad gained contact with the monophysite Christian heretics living on the fringes of the late Byzantine Levant. Eventually Khadijuh saw profit in marrying this young man, and made him the director of her business. Their close relationship in all matters was emphasized when Muhammad received his first revelations in the cave of Hira in 610/612. Khadijuh was listed as one of the hanifs of pre-islamic Arabia, and as such encouraged Muhammad to listen to the visions as the word of God rather than rejecting them.