Over 13,000 people including Sheikhs, VIPs, media personalities and representatives of charity organizations attended the lecture as eyes were glued to giant screens, and spontaneous translations services covering Arabic, Urdu and Tagalog (Filipino) languages were put in place for the non-English speaking audiences. The lecture was also broadcasted live by several local and international TV networks.
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Sheikh Fariq Naik – Zakir Naik’s son spoke for an hour prior to his dad- as an introductory talk before the “Does God Exist?” lecture, focusing on comparison between Christianity and Islam.
Dr. Zakir Naik’s lecture is a new attempt to prove the existence of God to atheists by the 50-year-old Indian scholar who has adopted an approach based on clarifying Islamic viewpoints and clearing misconceptions about Islam, using the Qur’an, authentic Hadith and other religious scriptures as a basis, in conjunction with reason, logic and scientific facts.
He is popular for presenting convincing answers to challenging questions posed by audiences after his public talks, and interactions with Katara visitors and people of interests in those topics showed once again the powerful impact of his critical analysis.
A Question and Answer session followed Dr. Zakir Naik’s lecture., and “Does God exist?” lecture was designed for 3 categories of people: Atheist, Skeptical, and believers who can’t prove to others that God Exists. Dr. Zakir said: “The holy Quran contains many scientific evidences that God almighty exists”.
Overwhelmed and flabbergasted by the large turnout of people and positive reactions to the lecture, the General Manager of Cultural Village Foundation-Katara, HE. Dr. Khalid Bin Ibrahim Al-Sulaiti, who presented an award to Dr. Naik, said: “Hosting this mega event, we were well prepared and crowds were expected tonight. Extra chairs were placed at the beach side besides the amphitheater. We have a record for hosting such events attracting masses of people. Last year we’ve organized lecture by the renowned Saudi preacher Dr. Salman Al-Oudah titled: “Witnesses on People”, and another one by American preacher Yusuf Estes, titled: “My Journey to the Light”, both events saw many people converting to Islam. The “Gardens of Paradise” or Riyadh A-Janna” series of lectures at Katara’s Mosque, and the “Lifestyle” series of lectures at the Cultural Village are further few examples demonstrating our keen interest in these religious and intellectual lectures”.
Katara General Manager added: “The long-duration lecture managed to keep thousands of people interested till the last moments and that says much. We are proud that Katara has so far succeeded in introducing itself as an important platform where representatives of various cultures take the stage, all in line with our vision aimed at giving a shot in the arm to efforts seeking to bring about a culture of dialogue, tolerance and acceptance of the “other”, and to depict the true spirit of Islam and our glorious culture away from all the stereotypes and false pretense”.
HE Dr. Al-Sulati also expressed his gratitude for Al-Jazeera network, other media channels and social media influencers who covered the event.
Audience reactions to Dr. Zakir Naik’s “Does God Exist?” lecture continued even after the talk on stage concluded in the early hours of Friday morning. After Dr. Zakir concluded his lecture, four people ascended to the stage in his presence announcing their conversion to Islam, and reciting “Al-Shahadatain-or the two testimonies”-which are considered the first pillar of Islam, and the gateway to entering the religion practically.
A long debate also followed the lecture where audience had the opportunity to share their questions, comments and argument with the Islamic preacher and attendees regarding faith-related issues. Some of them ended up convinced and announcing their conversion to Islam too, amidst mass applause and cheerful praise by the crowds.
Commenting on the lecture, Journalist Samir Al-Hijawai said: “The lecture showed the popularity of Islamic messages and interests of the same by people from all walks of faith. Katara is playing an important role in that regard”. In addition, Christine, a Doha-based Dutch citizen, said: “I’m Christian but I’d like to know more about Islam as I’ve been living in Qatar for two years now”.
Finally, Lourdes, a Doha-based Filipina, commented:” “My friend and I were attracted to the title of the lecture and we were interested so we decided to attend the event”. Another opinion from the audience, Jack, a Frenchman, said: “It is my first time ever to attend such a lecture by an Islamic preacher. I must say Dr. Naik has a way in presenting proofs that will make others interested in exploring Islam more”.
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