Zakah aims at supporting the poor by satisfying their needs. A specified amount is therefore given to them on a continuous basis to alleviate their state of poverty. This amount differs depending on circumstances and individuals. ‘Umar reported: “If you happen to give [alms], you should give to satisfy one’s needs.” Qadi ‘Abdulwahhab says that Malik never stipulated a limit to the amount that can be given. To him, zakah may even be given to one who has a house, a servant, and a mount to ride, provided he is in need. The import of the preceding hadith is clear – that is, asking for help is permissible for a person who is poor until he gets what he needs for his livelihood and is freed from his needs.
Qabisah ibn Mukhariq al-Hilali reported: “I had a debt. I went to the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and asked for his help. He answered: ‘Wait until we have funds for sadaqah, then we will give you some.’ He also said: ‘O Qabisah, sadaqah is justified only for the following three: first, a man who is in debt, for his case makes it permissible to receive [alms] until his difficulty is resolved; second, a man who is struck by calamity which destroys his holdings, which also makes it permissible for him to receive [alms] until he is in a position to earn a sustenance [or he said, ‘… what satisfies his needs and makes him self-sufficient’]; and third, a man who has been reduced to poverty and three persons of calibre from among his people testify to his desperate situation will receive until he finds for himself a means of support [or he said, ‘…what satisfies his needs and makes him self-sufficient’]. Other than these cases, O Qabisah, it is not permissible (sahat). A person receiving it (sadaqah) will be consuming forbidden holdings.'” This is narrated by Ahmad, Muslim, Abu Dawud, and anNasa’i.