Shafi’i on Debate: I only debate those whom I hope will turn to the truth

Al-Bayhaqi reported: Al-Shafi’i, may Allah have mercy on him, said, “I never debated anyone I knew to be founded upon innovation.”

Al-Bayhaqi said, “This is because the one founded upon innovation rarely turns away from his innovation through debate. Indeed, he would only debate whomever it was hoped would turn to the truth if it were clarified to him.”

Source: Manāqib al-Shāfiʻī 1/175

عن البيهقي قال الشَّافِعي رحمه الله ما ناظرت أحداً علمت أنه مقيم على بدعة

قال البيهقي  وهذا لأن المقيم على البدعة قلّما يرجع بالمناظرة عن بدعته وإنما كان يُنَاظِر من يرجو رجوعَه إلى الحقِّ إذا بَيَّنَه له

1/175 مناقب الشافعي للبيهقي