Calling 9-1-1 – Is That The Best First Option?

Story #1: I called 911 in desperation. I wanted to teach him a lesson “never to be aggressive with me again”. I realized I made the biggest mistake of my life after the police came and arrested him. From that day onwards I have regretted my decision. Our relationship has gone downhill. We are now like two strangers living under the same roof. I can see my husband does not trust me anymore. When my husband was in jail for the day he lost a big contract and promotion that was his dream. Our home has been a mess. He has a court case pending for domestic violence. I want to be a witness for my husband, but his lawyer is in disagreement because my husband has told his lawyer that he does not trust me, but I think more than that he want to protect me. If I tell the truth in court that my husband is not a violent person, I may end up in trouble for making up the story. Saying sorry or crying over what I did is not enough. I am at lost what to do?

Story # 2: I should not have called 911 no matter how angry my wife gets, how many dishes she breaks, how violent she gets and how many scratches I have to show for it. I did it because she had started to hit our children also. Two police officers, both men, showed up our doorsteps. It was the saddest day of my life when the male police officers dragged her to jail in handcuffs in front of our children crying for their mother. She spent the night in the cell with common criminals, drug addicts. She got the third degree treatment from the guards when she refused to take her hijab off but was forced to comply. Never in the history of our family had something as devastating as this happened to anyone. My children blame me for what happened. She went from the jail to her parent’s house. I had to go and apologize to her in front of her whole family to bring her back. The children needed their mother and I also cannot live without her. No matter what, she is still my wife and the mother of my children.

Story # 3: I was so sick of him being angry, calling me bad names, cursing me and my family, foul languages that usually lead to beating me. I couldn’t see any way out. I have suffered for the five years we have been together. It started soon after we got married. As a matter of fact our honeymoon ended up with him beating me. Normally he a good husband but when he gets angry, it is as if he is a different person. Seems as if he has some sort of disorder. I have recommended him seeking medical and professional help but he always responds that it is me and I need my head checked. Now I do nothing but cry about the mistake I made in calling the police on him. Upon looking at my bruises and swollen eye the police said to get a restraining order on him. So that he cannot come in the house or come near me or our children. The judge gave a court order to get anger management for him and recommended marital counseling for both of us.

I didn’t think that anything like that was available that really worked within the Muslim community. Both of us are glad that we were forced into it. Alhamdullilah we are slowly working towards discussing our issues in a more civilized way. It may take some time but we are committed to it no matter how long it takes. We both wish that we would have looked for help through marital counseling rather than calling 911 and being forced into it through the courts. We both have started to follow the guidance of Islam in resolving our issues.

The stories above may give the impression that I am opposed to calling 9-1-1. That is not the case. These are real cases that came to me recently. My reason for bringing these to the forefront is to highlight that most times such instances happen after a long simmering relationship. In all three cases the responses from the participants were “we wish we had gone for marriage counseling before this incident happened”. I would very strongly suggest that couples should go for pre-marital counseling before marriage, and specifically ask for sessions on conflict resolution. The 9-1-1 service must be used immediately if there is any fear of physical abuses to you, children or household members.


When police are called to respond to a domestic violence 9-1-1 call they are ready and equipped to take immediate action when they get complaint or witness evidence of domestic violence. One of their immediate action is to separate the two parties that means taking one to jail.

In recent decades, arrest and prosecution have been applied to perpetrators of domestic violence with increasing severity, and in recognizing domestic violence as a crime. Some jurisdictions have taken the war against domestic violence a step further, by employing aggressive “mandatory arrest” and “no-drop prosecution” policies.  A case is registered against the perpetrator verses the state instead of against the complainant. Those for many who regret making the call once the things have calmed down find them and their spouse at the mercy of the lawyers and court system. We as Muslims need to recognize that the domestic violence prevention laws and systems is for everyone and not just us. The law enforcement agencies are under tremendous pressure to act immediately. Many are not familiar with our Islamic atiquates and culture.


In some jurisdictions police have started to arrest both parties, often leaving children with social services.

So what are the alternatives?

  • Domestic violence does not happen in one day it is a gradually deteriorating phenomenon. Recognize the early signs and seek help from family and Muslim domestic violence counselors
  • In some cases, a specialist like a psychiatrist help may be needed. Don’t resist it is for your own benefit and that of your family.
  • Support your spouse. Rasool Allah (SWS) said to help the victim and perpetrator. When asked how the perpetrator? He (SWS) responded by finding him/her help and praying for him/her.
  • Remember the solution to family dispute lies with both of you only. Of course you should seek assistance from a marriage and family counselor or expert. As soon your finger dial 9-1-1 you may be handing the powers to the law enforcement, lawyers and court system. A very costly time consuming and stressful solution that may or may not be what you desired.
  • Alhamdullilah Muslim family counselors although limited in numbers are providing great service to the Muslim community.
  • ·         Finally, I strongly believe that pre marital counseling is a must for every young couple before marriage. It serves a great purpose preparing them to handle future marital issues and challenges effectively. For those who did not I suggest that to couples after marriage. It is a good exercise that has brought happiness and harmony in the lives of so many young couples. Rahmaa Institute ( has an internet based pre-marital course that prepares couples in dealing with marriage issues effectively. We also provide marriage and family counseling.


Domestic violence is a real issue among Muslims all over the world. We must address it effectively by providing support to both the victim and perpetrator. May Allah help and guide us. Ameen 

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