Praise be to Allah
The text of this supplication appears in two hadiths.
In a hadith narrated from ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her):
Abu Bakr came in and said: Did you hear from the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) a supplication that he taught me? I said: What is it? He said: ‘Eesa ibn Maryam used to teach it to his companions. He said: If one of you owed a debt worth a mountain of gold, and called upon Allah with these words, Allah would pay it off for him: “O Allah, Who relieves worry and distress, Who answers the call of the desperate, Most Gracious and Most Merciful in this world and the hereafter, You are the One Who could bestow mercy on me, so bestow mercy on me, so that I will have no need of mercy from anyone else.”
Abu Bakr as-Siddeeq (may Allah be pleased with him) said: I had an outstanding debt, and I hated being in debt, so I used to offer supplication in these words, then Allah granted me some wealth and paid off my debt for me.
‘Aa’ishah said: I owed Asma’ bint ‘Umays a dinar and three dirhams, and she would come to see me and I would feel too shy to look her in the face, because I could not afford to pay her back. I used to offer supplication in these words, and shortly afterwards Allah granted me some provision that was not in the form of charity that someone gave me or in the form of inheritance that I inherited. Thus Allah paid it off on my behalf, and I shared out some of that wealth with my family, and I bought some jewellery for the daughter of ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan, three uqiyahs of silver, and there was some left over for us.
This was narrated by al-Bazaar, as was attributed to him by as-Suyooti in ad-Durar al-Manthoor (1/24); Abu Bakr al-Marwazi in Musnad Abi Bakr as-Siddeeq (no. 40); at-Tabaraani in ad-Du‘aa’ (1/317); Ibn ‘Adiyy in al-Kaamil (2/203) and via him by Ibn ‘Asaakir in Taareekh Dimashq (47/472). It was narrated by al-Haakim in al-Mustadrak (1/696); al-Bayhaqi in Dalaa’il an-Nubuwwah (no. 2420), in ad-Da‘waat al-Kabeer (no. 167) and in Musnad al-Firdaws by ad-Daylami (no. 1988).
It was narrated by a number of chains of narration from Yoonus ibn Yazeed al-Ayli, from al-Hakam ibn ‘Abdillah al-Ayli, from al-Qaasim ibn Muhammad, from ‘Aa’ishah.
Al-Haakim said: This is a saheeh hadith, but al-Bukhaari and Muslim did not regard al-Hakam ibn ‘Abdillah al-Ayli as a sound narrator. End quote.
However, the correct view is that al-Hakam ibn ‘Abdillah al-Ayli is a very weak (da‘eef jiddan) narrator of hadith, and more than one of the leading scholars regarded him as a liar. It says in his biography in Lisaan al-Mizaan (2/332): Ibn al-Mubaarak used to criticise him harshly. Ahmad said: His hadiths are all fabricated (mawdoo‘). Ibn Ma‘een said: He is not trustworthy; as-Sa‘di and Abu Haatim said: He is a liar. An-Nasaa’i, ad-Daaraqutni and a number of others said: His hadith is to be rejected.
They rejected his hadith. Ibn al-Mubaarak regarded him as insignificant and, according to one report, classed him as da‘eef (weak). Muslim said in al-Kunaa: His hadith is munkar (odd). End quote. Many scholars condemned his hadith.
Thus it becomes clear that the hadith is odd (munkar) or fabricated (mawdoo‘), in contrast to the view of Imam al-Haakim (may Allah have mercy on him). Hence Imam al-Mundhiri classed it as da‘eef in at-Targheeb wa’t-Tarheeb (3/57). He also mentioned another fault, which is that al-Qaasim did not hear from ‘Aa’ishah. It was also classed as da‘eef by Imam as-Suyooti in ad-Durr al-Manthoor (1/24). In Da‘eef at-Targheeb (1143), Shaykh al-Albaani classed it as fabricated (mawdoo‘).
It was narrated from Anas ibn Maalik that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said:
“O ‘Ali, shall I not teach you a supplication which, if you are afflicted by worry and distress and you call upon your Lord with these words, you will receive a response by Allah’s leave, and be granted relief? Do wudoo’ and pray two rak‘ahs, praise and glorify Allah, send blessings upon your Prophet, and seek forgiveness for yourself and for the believing men and women, then say: ‘O Allah, You judge between Your slaves regarding that wherein they differ. There is no god but Allah, the Most High, the Most Great; there is no god but Allah, the Most Forbearing, the Most Generous; glory be to Allah, Lord of the seven heavens and Lord of the Mighty Throne; praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. O Allah, Who relieves worry and distress, Who answers the call of the desperate, Most Gracious and Most Merciful in this world and the hereafter, You are the One Who could bestow mercy on me, so bestow mercy on me, so that I will have no need of mercy from anyone else.”
Shaykh al-Albaani said in as-Silsilah ad-Da‘eefah (no. 5287):
It is munkar (odd). It was narrated by al-Asbahaani (2/534/1278) from Ishaaq ibn al-Fayd: al-Mada’ told us: ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Anas told me, attributing it to the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him)…
I – Shaykh al-Albaani – say: This is a shady (muzlim), weak (da‘eef) isnad… Then he (may Allah have mercy on him) discussed its faults in detail. See the reference in as-Silsilah ad-Da‘eefah mentioned above.
To sum up, the text of this supplication is not narrated via any sound chain of narration; rather all its chains are very weak. Therefore the scholars deemed it to be fabricated and narrated it in the books of fabricated reports (al-mawdoo‘aat), such as Tadhkirat al-Mawdoo‘aat by al-Fatani (p. 53); Tanzeeh ash-Sharee‘ah (2/333) and al-Fawaa’id al-Majmoo‘ah (p. 59, 52).
There is nothing wrong with a person making this part of his supplication, or asking Allah for what he needs in these words, because they are all phrases that are sound in meaning and for which there is a great deal of evidence in the Qur’an and saheeh Sunnah. It contains meanings of humility, seeking to draw close to Allah, showing submission before Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. It also demonstrates seeking to draw close to Allah by virtue of the attributes of Allah, may He be exalted, and His mercy which encompasses all things. So whoever says these words in supplication – without believing that it has any extra virtue or brings any special reward – it is hoped that it will be accepted and answered.
It was narrated that ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn Saabit said:
The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) used to offer supplication in these words, and show respect for the words: “O Allah, Who relieves worry and distress, Who answers the call of the desperate, Most Gracious and Most Merciful in this world and the hereafter, You are the One Who could bestow mercy on me, so bestow mercy on me, so that I will have no need of mercy from anyone else.”
Narrated by Ibn Abi Shaybah in al-Musannaf (6/109) with a saheeh isnad from ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan ibn Saabit. But this ‘Abd ar-Rahmaan was one of the Taabi‘een and did not meet the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), as is stated in his biography in Tahdheeb at-Tahdheeb (6/181). So his hadith is mursal, but mursal hadiths may be valid as references regarding dhikr and du‘aa’. In fact, if the meanings and wording of a supplication (du‘aa’) is sound, it is permissible to say these words in supplication, even if the ywere not originally narrated from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), for the door of supplication is open to anyone who strives hard in it. However, the supplications that are narrated and proven bring greater blessing and are sound in meaning, and they are furthest removed from using complex phrases or overstepping the mark in supplication.
And Allah knows best.