Question 18: Today many youth believe that we should abandon some acts of Sunnah (whatever is reported from the Prophet) in order to avoid disagreement among the people. For example, placing the right hand on the left hand in Salaah, positions of raising the hands (in Salaah), and Jalsat-ul-Istiraahah (a brief sitting after prostration and before standing during the Prayer). They argue that Islaam has many priorities and these matters come in later stages and not in the first stages in the life of a Da`ee (caller to Islaam); especially Jalsat-ul-Istiraahah.
They believe that if you apply an act of Sunnah and people start to look at you with discontent, it will be a Fitnah (sedition). They began to use the following Aayah as a proof: “Fitnah is worse than killing.” And the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him): “Fitnah is in a sleep, Allaah has cursed those who awaken it.”
These are legal proofs to be followed. The Prophet (peace be upon him) commanded us to follow his Sunnah, especially at times of disagreements. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said in the Hadeeth of Al-`Irbaad ibn Sariyah after he mentioned some matters: Whoever lives after me, will see a lot of disagreements, so keep to my Sunnah and the practices of the Rightly-Guided Caliphs who will come after me. . . and so on. Please advise.
Answer: First, Du`aah (callers) to the Way of Allaah (Exalted be He) should start with the most important issues, then the less important and so on as the Prophet (peace be upon him) said when he sent Mu`aad to Yemen... read more here.