Indeed our salaf as-saalih [pious predecessors] have left behind for us treasures, and from them is the Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shayba; a compendium in which Ibn Abi Shayba compiled the fiqh of the Salaf, their statements, their conduct, and their narrations.
From this compilation are amazing narrations which you wont find in another book.
One example is the excellence of praying 4 rak’ah after Isha.
Ibn Abi Shayba said:
(7273) It was narrated to us by Abu Bakr who said: Ibn Idris narrated to us from Husayn from Mujaahid from Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr who said: “Whoever prays 4 rak’ah after Isha; their reward is equal as if they were prayed during Laylatul Qadr.”
I say: This chain is authentic and good upon the conditions of Bukhaari & Muslim, and even though it is mawqoof [it is upto the companion]; it has the ruling of being marfoo’ [a statement of the Prophet (sallahAllahu alayhi wasallam)] because this is not said through opinions or scholarly deduction, rather it is only from the Prophet.
(7274) – Muhammad ibn Fudhayl narrated to us from al-‘Alaibn Musayyab from Abdurrahman ibn Aswad from his father from ‘Aisha that she said: “Four after Isha are equal to the same prayed during Laylatul Qadr.”
I say: This chain is authentic and good upon the conditions of Bukhaari & Muslim
How Are These 4 Rak’ah Prayed:
(7275) – Waki’ narrated to us from Abduljabbaar ibn Abbaas from Qays ibn Wahb from Murra from Abdullaah that he said: “Whoever prays 4 after Isha -without breaking between them by a tasleem- : they are equal to 4 rak’ah prayed during Laylatul Qadr.”
I say: This chain is authentic to Abdullaah ibn Mas’oud, and in it we benefit the way of praying this prayer.
In Silsilah Dhaifa [A compilation of weak ahadeeth] by Sheikh Al-Albaani, hadeeth 5060 :
“Whoever prays Isha in congregation and then after it prays 4 rak’ah -before leaving the masjid- they are equal to during Laylatul Qadr.”
Imaam Al-Albaani declared it weak, and then said:
‘But the hadeeth has been proven to be authentic to a group of the companions without the statement: ‘Before he leaves the masjid’. This was narrated by Ibn Abi Shayba in al-Musannaf and also Ibn Nasr from Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr who said: “Whoever prays 4 rak’ah after Isha; their reward is equal as if they were prayed during Laylatul Qadr.”
I [Al-Albaani] say: Its chain is authentic. Then Ibn Abi Shayba also narrated similar from Aisha, Ibn Mas’oud, Ka’b ibn Maati’, Mujaahid, and Abdurrahman ibn al-Aswad; all being traced back to them as their statements.
And the chains to all of them are saheeh [authentic] -except the one to Ka’b-. And even though they are traced back to them [the companions and tabi’een]: they have the ruling of being marfoo’ [a statement of the Prophet (sallahAllahu alayhi wasallam)] because -as it is clear- this is not something said through opinions.’ end of Imaam Albaani’s words.
If one was still to say: ‘Well these are all mawqoof and not marfoo’!’
It is said to him: ‘They have the ruling of being marfoo’, as has been stated.’
Ibn Hajar said in his book ‘Nuzhatu-n-Naadhir’: “And examples of narrations that are not apparently marfoo’ [raised to the Prophet] but have the ruling of being marfoo: is that a companion -who does not take from the narrations of Banu Israil- says something where there is no place for scholarly opinion, nor is it something which he is clarifying the linguistic meaning of some difficult words, or like when he informs of some of the past things: like the beginning of creation or the previous nations, or about the future like the end of times and the events of Judgement day. And likewise narrating about the specific reward or punishment resulting from a particular deed.”
Summarized and translated by Abdul’azeez from article of Umar as-Salafi al-Mowsuli : http://www.kulalsalafiyeen.com/vb/showthread.php?t=24264
InshaAllaah we should be diligent in achieving this great reward. Everyday after Isha, pray 4 raka’h [Sit for tashahhud after two but dont make tasleem, stand up and complete the two. Basically its the same format as praying dhuhr, asr, or isha.]
This is from the great bounties and mercy of Allaah on us.