As-Salam ‘Aleikom sister,
Thank you for writing to us, we appreciate it. I will try my best to advice you, in sha’ Allah.
First of all, you should have told him about the engagement your parents forced you to before you left him. If he wanted to marry you back then, you should have been honest with him about your situation. It has been 5 years since he proposed to you, maybe he is not interested in marrying you now. He is contacting you again after so many years, and I find it a little bit strange.
If he is not able to marry you now due to some family problems, then ask him about a set date for when he can. You should also tell him that your parents want to marry you off soon, so you may not be able to wait for him for one year and definitely not keep a friendship with him during that time as it would be haram, anyway. Be open and clear with him about your situation now so he does not think that you are going to disappear again.
Secondly, you parents should not force you to marry anyone if you do not want to. Forcing you to engage to someone did not really turn out so well, so they should be wiser and listen to you this time. Islam has not given parents the authority to compel their children to marry someone. Their role in marrying off their children is manifested in giving advice, direction, and guidance; they do not have the right to force their children, whether they are sons or daughters, to marry someone they do not want to marry. The final say in this belongs to the children themselves. Islam is a religion which commands justice towards others and forbids oppression. Allah said in the Qur’an:
‘’Indeed, Allah orders justice, good conduct, and giving to relatives; and forbids immorality, bad conduct, and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.” (16:90)
Islam is also a religion that forbids forcing people to do things against their will. This is emphasized, even in the matter of religion, as we find in the Qur’an:
“There is no compulsion in religion; the right path has become distinct from the worng…” (2:256)
If there is no compulsion in the most important of matters, then it is even more deserving that no person be compelled by another in matters which are of lesser importance, such as marriage. Forced marriage is something alien to Islam, and something which was openly opposed in the Qur’an and by Prophet Muhammed (saw). Allah (swt) said:
“O you who have believed, it is not lawful for you to inherit women by compulsion. And do not make difficulties for them…” (4:19)
So, what your father has been doing is completely wrong. You should talk to him in a respectful manner and tell him that it is no point in rushing into a marriage when it is just going to work out later. If he forces you to marry someone against your will, then Allah (swt) will punish him for it.
Do not reject the proposals completely that your parents show you; think about them before you take a final decision. You never know, maybe your parents will find you a good man who is suitable for you and will make you happy.
I advise you to not rely on your ‘’friend’’ as there is no guarantee that he will marry you even in a year time. Waiting for him might be a waste of time. I can understand that you like him and want to marry him, but you should think rationally about your future. When we get emotional about something, our ability to make rational decisions has a strong tendency to fail.
Has he told you about his family problem? If not, have you thought about what the problem could be? What if his parents want him to marry someone else and he feels pressurized, too? You could be the one he wanted to get married to, but if he is not ready, he’s very likely to let you go. He may come back, but by then, you’ve continued with your life and found a man who is ready. Your friend may show that he is not that bothered about that you left him, but a man likes loyalty. If you have broken his trust in the past, it can spell disaster for a future together because he needs to feel like he can trust you 100% in all areas of your life together. Just as you as a woman need to feel loved and supported, as a man, he needs to feel loved and that you will never betray him. Do you really think he will marry you after one year? I doubt it.
I suggest that you stop having contact with him and focus on your studies and give more importance to the proposals your parents show you than him. Be patient and seek help from Allah (swt) to find you the righteous man.
“And seek help in patience and As-Salah and truly it is extremely heavy and hard except for humbly submissive(to Allah).” (2:45)
May Allah (swt) ease your problem and guide you to the right path, in sha’ Allah.
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