Taken from “Fiqh al-Imam-Key Proofs in Hanafi Fiqh” by Shaykh Abdur-Rahman ibn Yusuf (May Allah reward him with good and increase him in knowledge) [White Thread Press]
Raising the Hands for Ruku’
Similar to the issue of amin, the question of whether or not to raise the hands anywhere in the prayer after the opening takbir, is not as serious a difference of opinion as has been made out to be. Whether, one should raise his hands or not, before and after the bowing [ruku’], is merely a difference in ascertaining the better of two ways. Sometimes it is taken so seriously that some propents of raising the hands at these instances, label those who do not raise them as ignorant, deviant, or guilty of reprehensible innovation. These are serious allegations. Likewise, the latter group has also been known to sometimes criticize the former group in a similar way.
It must be remembered that just as not raising the hands at any instance beyond the opening takbir [tahrima] is derived from the hadiths, so is the practice of raising them when bowing. hence, both methods are permissible according to most scholars. The only differenc eis that according to some scholars, not raising the hands is more virtuous than raising them, whereas the others assert the contrary view. In the terminology of the jurists [fuqaha’], this issue is reffered to as the issue of raf’ al-yadayn or “raising of the hands.”
The following section discuss the hadiths and evidences pertaining to this issue. They also seek to demonstrate the strength of the Hanafi position in this issue.
Let us first take a look at the different opinions regarding the rasiing of the hands at various points in the prayer:
1) Raising the hands while saying the opening takbir-all scholars are unanimous that the hands should be raised at this point.
2) Raising the hands before bowing [ruku’] and after returning from it-one group (who will be reffered to as “group one” in this chapter states that it is sunna and more virtuous to raise the hands at these instances. Another group, which includes Imam malik rahimahullah and Imam abu hanifa rahimahullah, is of the opinion that it is sunna and more preferable not to raise the hands at these instances.
3) Raising the hands at any other point in the prayer, for instance, when moving into prostration [sajda] or returning to the third standing [qiyam]-there is no difference of opinion regarding these instances. All the scholars of the Ahl al-Sunna are unanimous that it is no longer sunna to raise the hands at these instances, since the practice was abrogated.
It should be remembered, however, that since this is not a debate about something being obligatory [fard] or unlawful [haram], the scholars state that it is permissible for a person following the opinion of group one not to raise his hands, just as it is permissible for a Hanafi or Maliki to raise them. However, it is preferable to follow the preferred practice of one’s own school of fiqh, since that entails greater reward.
Some History Regarding the Issue
The whole debate concerning the “raising of the hands” revolves around two points. The first is regarding the differences found in the hadiths pertaining to this issue, and the second is regarding to the differences found in the practice of the people of the three great cities of Islam during the first century A.H.-Makka, Madina, and Kufa.
Imam Malik rahimahullah based his opinion on the conduct [ta’amul] of the people of Madina, who did not observe the practice of raising the hands. Hence, he was of the opinion that one should not raise the hands anywhere after the opening takbir. It states in al-Mudawwana:
Imam malik rahimahullah said, “I do not consider the raising of hands to be part of any takbir of the prayer, neither of any descending or ascending motion, except at the beginning of prayer.” Ibn al-Qasim rahimahullah states, “Raising the hands [at any other point] was considered a weak practice according to Imam Malik rahimahullah” (Al-Mudawwanat al-Kubra 1:71)
This is Imam Malik rahimahullah sitting in the capital of Islam of the time, the city of Madina, where the Messenger of Allah salalahu alayhi wa salam and the rightly guided Caliphs [Khulafa’ rashidun] had resided, stating that raf’ al-yadayn was a weak practice.
The opinions of Imam Shafi’i rahimahullah, on the other hand, were usually based on the fiqh of Makka. Hence, he preffered the raising of the hands, as it was the practice of most of the inhabitants of Makka in acccordance with the teachings of ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr radiallahu anhu.
Other than these two cities, the most significant center of Islamic learning was Kufa. ‘Umar radiallahu anhu had sent ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiallahu anhu to Kufa as its teacher, in addition to approximately fifteen hundred other Companions radiallahu anhum who had previously taken up residence there. ‘Ali radiallahu anhu had transferred the center of the Islamic caliphate to Kufa as well, where he also took up residence. Hence, the people of Kufa, based on the teachings of Ibn Mas’ud and ‘Ali radiallahu anhum, did not practice the raising of the hands. The great hadith master ‘Allama ‘Iraqi rahimahullah reports in his book Sharh al-Taqrib that Muhammad ibn Nasr al-Marwazi said regarding the inhabitants of Kufa:
“We are not aware of any city, in which all its inhabitants had completely abandoned the practice of raising the hands at all instance of ascending or descending in prayer, besides the people of Kufa. None from among them would raise their hands exxcept at the initial takbir” (Ithaf al-sadat al-muttaqin bi sharh ihya’ ‘ulum al-din 3:54)
Hence, only one city from among the three great centers of Islam gave preference to raising the hands. The practice in the other cities was the contrary. This is very strong evidence in favor of the Hanafi opinion, because many of the people of Kufa must have travelled to Makka but still chose not to adopt the practice of the people of Makka in raising the hands.
Imam Tirmidhi rahimahullah, in his Sunan, composed two chapters concerning this issue: one containing the hadiths of raising the hands, and the other containing the hadiths of not raising them. At the end of the first chapter, he remarks concerning the raising of the hands, “This is the opinion of a few [ba’d] Companions” At the end of the second chapter, on not raising the hands, he remarks, “This is the opinion of more than one Companion.” The expression used-ghayru wahidin, “more than one”-indicates a great number than the term ba’d “few.” These remarks of Imam Tirmidhi rahimahullah indicate that the practice of not raising the hands was a very widespread one.
Inshaallah there is more to come in part two.