Asking questions to the speaker after his Islamic lecture has become an expected routine. This practice is taught and encouraged without any discretion; but Islamicly, there is a lot to be learned in this matter. I would like to remind our readers to ponder just two important points before they pose their questions.
First, how well do you know this speaker and what is his area of expertise? Can you trust him with your Deen? Has he been invited to this gathering because he is a good speaker and a good fundraiser? Or, is he a true scholar of Deen who has studied the Qur'an and Hadith under the supervision of learned scholars? Imam Ibn-Sireen, advising us about whom we ask and learn from, has a narration collected by Imam Tirmidhi in his Saheeh:
"This deen is a very important matter so be cautious as to
whom you take it (religious knowledge) from."
Of course, this is not to say that speakers and fundraisers should not be invited. Certainly they have their place; however, Islamic questions should be reserved for the experts of deen, the ulamah.
Second, what is the purpose behind asking him the question? Is it only to test the speaker's knowledge and try to challenge or confuse him? Or is it to see how liberal or conservative he is? Sometimes, questions are asked only to demonstrate the incompetence of this speaker and that he doesn't deserve being re-invited.
Lastly, some people ask questions only in hopes of getting an answer that is appealing to them or one that they feel is correct. Then the great and very learned scholar will be the one who gives the answers we like to hear. The same questions are repeatedly asked until someone is found who (out of ignorance or just to please us) gives us desirable answer. In other words, it's shopping for what we want and not what is in the Qur'an and hadith.
During the time of Rasulullah (saw), the Ahl-a-Kitaab would often send people to Rasulullah (saw) to ask questions about Islam. They would train them to ask particular questions and would say to them, "If that Prophet responds to your question in this manner, then say we follow him in that. And if he says otherwise, then tell him that we don't want to follow what you say." And so, these predisposed insincere seekers would frequently bombard Rasulullah (saw) with questions. We should all carefully ponder the following verse (regarding these incidents) in which Allah (swt) sternly reprimands them:
يَقُولُونَ إِنْ أُوتِيتُمْ هَذَا فَخُذُوهُ وَإِنْ لَمْ تُؤْتَوْهُ فَاحْذَرُوا وَمَنْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ فِتْنَتَهُ فَلَنْ تَمْلِكَ لَهُ مِنَ اللَّهِ شَيْئًا أُولَئِكَ الَّذِينَ لَمْ يُرِدِ اللَّهُ أَنْ يُطَهِّرَ قُلُوبَهُمْ لَهُمْ فِي الدُّنْيَا خِزْيٌ وَلَهُمْ فِي الآخِرَةِ عَذَابٌ عَظِيمٌ
They say "if you are given this, take it, but if you are not given this, then beware!" and whoever Allah (swt) wants to put in Fitnah (error), you can do nothing for him. They are the ones whose hearts Allah (swt) does not want to purify; and for them there is a disgrace in this world and in Hereafter a great torment. (5:41)