Mafiq’s annual Muslim Youth Debate Tournament is a project of the Mafiq Foundation in the DC, Maryland, and Virginia area that focuses on developing and exercising skills in parliamentary debate, critical analysis, and verbal delivery in the context of relevant faith-related topics. In our Muslim youth, we help nurture eloquence and wisdom in how the world works– this one, and the next.
Why We Do It
Eloquence has historically been a highly valued skill in Islamic culture. Surah Ta-Ha tells us that when Allah sent the Prophet Musa (pbuh) to call the Pharaoh to Islam, the prophet replied “O my Lord! Open for me my chest [grant me self-confidence, contentment, and boldness]… and make loose the knot [the defect] from my tongue, [i.e. remove the incorrectness from my speech].” (Surah 20:25-27). The Arabs at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (S) placed great emphasis on articulate speech, and throughout Islamic history, Muslim societies have maintained a proud tradition of spirited philosophical debate. Even the greatest miracle Allah has given us – the Qur’an – is itself a masterful demonstration of eloquence.
One of the greatest benefits of learning to debate is developing lateral thinking skills. This allows one to see issues from different perspectives, enabling one to understand the other side. Debate also fosters critical thinking skills, allowing one to clearly identify the root or premise of an argument and consequently its flaws or merits. This helps a person respond not only to an opponent’s argument at a superficial level but to the underlying concept as well.
Further, debating teaches one quick thinking, organizing thoughts and structuring arguments in a logical, quick and impromptu manner. This is a skill that benefits one not only in our verbal interactions in life but also in our writing. It is especially useful in exam writing and writing papers for college and school as they are more readable and structured and makes an average paper into an excellent paper.
Some topics are not debatable because they are simply statements of fact (“the earth rotates around its axis”); others are not debatable because they are too broad or vague in scope. The answers to many issues, however, are far from black and white, lying instead somewhere in between. Debate teaches one to search these shades of truth, develop an informed opinion, and effectively argue his or her position.
Public speaking is as important now as ever before. Given the current social and political climate of the United States, the American Muslim community is coming under increasing scrutiny, and we are in great need of articulate, active brothers and sisters who are able to positively represent their faith in society. It is our hope that, through activities like the Muslim Youth Debate Tournament, young Muslims may be encouraged to foster these skills within themselves and gain the confidence to use them in society at large.
We thank you for your participation in this program, and we ask Allah to bless your efforts and make this and future tournaments a success.
For questions or comments, please contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.