Taken from “Fiqh al-Imam-Key Proofs In Hanafi Fiqh” by Shaykh Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf (hafidullah) [White Thread Press]
The Hadiths On Raising The Hands
Group one normally presents the narration of Ibn ‘Umar radiallahu anhu and Malik ibn al-Huwayrith radiallahu anhu as their primary sources of evidence, since both of these Companions have reported the raising of the hands at the time of bowing. However, both of these Companions radiallahu anhum also reported the raising of the hands regarding all seven instances mentioned above. Group one has only accepted those narrations of the two Companions radiallahu anhum which mention that the Messenger of Allah salalahu alayhi wa salam raised his hands at the opening takbir and when bowing, and have disregarded the other narrations.
The Hanafi scholars did not base their opinion on these narrations but on those reports whose narrators are consistent. Their primary source are the narrations of ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud radiallahu anhu, who states that the hands were raised at the initial takbir only, and not repeated at any other time in the prayer. All reports from him explain the same practice.
Weakness of ‘Abdullah ibn “Umar’s radiallahu anhu Narrations
Now we come to the issue of the narrations of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, which are normally quoted by those who claim that the messenger salalahu alayhi wa salam frequently raised his hands in salat. It is well known that Imam Malik rahimahullah received many narrations from Abdullah ibn Umar radiallahu anhu. In fact, his famous chain of transmission which runs through Nafi’ to ‘Abdullah ibn Umar radiallahu anhum, is known as “the golden chain” [silsilat al-dhahab]. However, in this issue, Imam Malik rahimahullah did not base his opinion on these narrations, but rather adopted the narrations of Ibn Mas’ud radiallau anhu instead, and gave preference to the practice [ta’amul] of the people of Madina, which was to raise the hands at the initial takbir only.
Second, Ibn Abi Shayba radiallahu anhu and Imam Tahawi radiallahu anhu have related another hadith of Ibn ‘Umar radiallahu anhu through Mujahid radiallahu anhu, in which there is also no mention of raising the hands. If this was a constant practice of the Messenger salalahu alayhi wa salam, then why is it not mentioned in this narration?
Furthermore, although there are many Hadiths of Ibn ‘Umar radiallahu anhu regarding the raising of the hands, there are many inconsistencies found in them. Such confusion in the reports of a narrator will not allow his narrations to be adopted in the presence of other reports that are more precise and consistent. For example, in one of his narrations, which is mentioned in Imam Tahawi’s (rahimahullah) Mushkil al-athar, it states that the hands were raised at every movement of the prayer, whereas in his other narrations, this is not mentioned.