Shadow Lives: The Forgotten Women of the War on Terror

Shadow Lives reveals the unseen side of the ‘9/11 wars’: their impact on the wives and families of men incarcerated in Guantanamo, or in prison or under house arrest in Britain and the US. Victoria Brittain shows how these families have been made socially invisible and a convenient scapegoat for the state in order to exercise arbitrary powers under the cover of the ‘War on Terror’. 

A disturbing exposé of the perilous state of freedom and democracy in our society, the book reveals how a culture of intolerance and cruelty has left individuals at the mercy of the security services’ unverifiable accusations and punitive punishments.

Both a j’accuse and a testament to the strength and humanity of the families, Shadow Lives shows the methods of incarceration and social control being used by the British state and gives a voice to the families whose lives have been turned upside down. In doing so it raises urgent questions about civil liberties which no one can afford to ignore.



A searching, sensitive, and wrenching account of the ordeal of the women left behind, their torment, their endurance and courage, their triumphs over the cruel “extension of prison to home.” And not least, a revealing picture of what we have allowed ourselves to become. (Noam Chomsky)

This is a window into an invisible world…a reminder that abandoning normal legal standards has serious consequences for the Rule of Law. (Helena Kennedy QC)

Victoria Brittain’s book is a uniquely powerful and moving account of the tragic consequences of policies which flout fundamental rights and the rule of law. It adds a new and deeply disturbing dimension to the story of the response to 9/11. (Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC)

The author’s extraordinary empathy gives a voice to women who have courageously endured unimaginable indignity from indefensible laws. (Louise Christian, solicitor for several Guantanamo prisoners and their families)

This is a book to make you gasp, weep, shout, but above all a book to admire: the lovely writing, the complexities made clear, the everyday heroism of survivors. It is a terrible story, beautifully told. (Beatrix Campbell)

Shadow Lives is a landmark work that takes over your heart and head. In drawing together lives scattered and devastated and made heroic by the ‘war on terror’, Victoria Brittain, one of the greatest reporters, tells us the truth about these dangerous times. (John Pilger)


About the Author

Victoria Brittain lived and worked as a journalist in Washington, Nairobi, Saigon, Algiers and London, and has travelled extensively in Africa and the Middle East. She worked at the Guardian for 20 years. She is author of Death of Dignity: Angola’s Civil War (1997), co-author of Moazzam Begg’s Guantanamo memoir, Enemy Combatant (2006) and author and co-author of two verbatim plays.

Phonetics – Basic Segments of Speech (Consonants)

Consonant Articulation Chart

Reconciling Between Apparently Contradicting Ahaadith and Quran

It is not even worth it…

الدنيا من أولها إلى آخرها لا تُساوي غمَّ ساعة ، فكيف بغمِّ العمر !؟ .

[الفوائد [٤٥٨

Ibn al-Qayyim Rahamtullahi said:

The Dunya (worldly life) from it’s beginning to its very end is not worth even an hour of sadness, then what of a life time of sadness?!


The Phonemes of English

“Ghoti” = “Fish”

George Bernard Shaw (GBS) was a famous Irish writer. He wanted to reform English spelling so that it was more logical. He asked the following question as an example:

How do we pronounce the word “ghoti”?

His answer was “fish”.

How can “ghoti” and “fish” sound the same? GBS explained it like this:

  • the gh = f as in rouGH
  • the o = i as in wOmen
  • the ti = sh as in naTIon

Of course, this was a joke. The word “ghoti” is not even a real word. But it showed the inconsistency of English spelling.

A picture of the vocal tract

Another Hamza Yusuf blunder

[1] Regarding Abu Al’aa Al-Ma’ari, then Ibn Katheer (rahimahu Allah) said in Al-Bidaya wa Al-Nihaya 12/91, after mentioning one of the verses of Abu Al-‘Alaa and pointing out the heresy in them, he said:

ولما عزم الفقهاء على أخذه بهذا وأمثاله هرب ورجع إلى بلده، ولزم منزله فكان لا يخرج منه

“And when the Fuqaha intended (or set forth) to taking him (punishing him) for this and its likes, he escaped and returned back to his town, and remained in his home where he did not use to leave it”

So I am not sure were he got that they just let him be because they like his poetry, not that the story he mentioned even count as evidence

[2] Regarding Al-Nakh’ie (May Allah have Mercy on him), Al-Imam Al-Bukhari narrates in his Saheeh, under the Chapter of: The Ruling of the Apostate man, and woman, and asking them to repent, he said:

بَابُ حُكْمِ المُرْتَدِّ وَالمُرْتَدَّةِ وَاسْتِتَابَتِهِمْ
وَقَالَ ابْنُ عُمَرَ وَالزُّهْرِيُّ، وَإِبْرَاهِيمُ: «تُقْتَلُ المُرْتَدَّةُ»ـ

Al-Bukhari said: “And Ibn Umar, Al-Zuhri, and Ibrahim said: The woman who apostates shall be killed”.

Ibrahim quoted by Al-Bukhari here is Ibrahim Al-Nakhie (rahimahu Allah) as can be found in the narration of Abdulrazzaq, and was pointed out by various commentators on Al-Bukhari. Al-Qastalaani (rahimahu Allah), for example, said:

(وإبراهيم) النخعي فيما أخرجه عبد الرزاق أيضًا (تقتل) المرأة (المرتدة) إن لم تتب

And Ibrahim is Al-Nakhie as was narrated by Abdulrazzaq as well, that the Murtada shall be killed if she did not repent.

Related link

[3] The third point is his claim that Abu Hanifa (rahimahu Allah) did not rule that the woman who apostates should be killed because the narration that woman [in war] shall not be killed is Mutawatir, and the other is Ahaad?! I do not know where or who from among the scholars of the Hanafi Mazhab gave this as the justification of Abu Hanifa (rahimahu Allah) ruling, because I read several presentation of the Hanafi view in their books, and am yet to see anyone use this Ahaad vs. Mutawatir claim.

And Allah knows best

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