I want to know the proper way of offering the salah. There are madhaibs which have their own ways of praying like doing rafa yadain (raising hands to earlobes in different rites of the salah), offering witr etc. There are a lot of different opinions. And there is even contradiction between them. Sir I want to know what is the correct way of prayer, doing rafa yadain or not according to the hadith.
Thank you for writing to us. Please note that the basic content and form of the ritual prayer has been taught by the Prophet (sws) to the entire generation of the Companions (rta) who in turn transmitted it to the next generation with the consensus and the process has continued till our generation. Thus the necessary form and regulations about the prayer should not a matter of opinion. It should be followed as it was received by the ummah from the Prophet (sws) and performed throughout in the history of Islam. As for the issue of raf' yadain other than done in the start of the salah it is not a basic component of the Prayer. It was not taught by the Prophet (sws) to the first generation of the believers. The Hanafis do not consider the ahadith which mention the raf' yadain because they hold that the Prayer was not something to be offered in private and it was taught by the Prophet (sws) to the entire generation of the Companions (rta) who transmitted it to the next generation and they in turn transmitted it to the next generation and so on. Their view seems very compelling. Then what about the hadith narratives which mention raf' yadain in other than the beginning of the Prayer? We believe that the Prophet (sws) might have done so on some individual occasions but when he left this world the form of the Prayer established and instituted did not include this practice. Those who believe that it can be done should not impose their view on others who hold a more sound view in this regard.
As for the witr prayer, it was not offered by the Prophet (sws) in the congregation and in this personal prayer he could have at times offered different numbers of raka'aat. For our view on the reason of difference in this issue please refer to: http://al-mawrid.org/pages/questions_english_detail.php?qid=459&cid=317&search=witr