The Prophet (saas) lifted burdens from the faithful, and was a guide to them in tasks that they failed to understand properly, which were otherwise had been too difficult. People are easily prone to making their lives difficult, and to imposing rules upon themselves, by which they falsely believe they have solved their problems. This particular human characteristic is one of the reasons why the religion has been distorted through the years. Many societies have dreamed up rules that did not actually exist in the religion, and then made themselves and others believe that they would only be truly god-fearing when they adhered to them. One of the Prophet (saas)'s most important qualities was the way he lifted such burdens that people had imposed on themselves. Allah speaks of that quality of the Prophet (saas) in a verse:
Those who follow the Messenger, the Ummi, whom they find written down with them in the Torah and the Gospel, commanding them to do right and forbidding them to do wrong, permitting them good things and prohibiting them bad things, relieving them of their heavy loads and the chains which were around them. Those who believe in him and honour him and help him, and follow the Light that has been sent down with him, they are the ones who are successful. (Surat al-A‘raf: 157)
The "heavy loads and chains" mentioned in the verse are the difficulties people impose upon themselves. The Prophet (saas) was both a model for people in his own lifetime, as well as one who lifted such burdens from people, as the verse indicates, by calling them to righteousness and warning them against wickedness.One of the subjects in which the Prophet (saas) was a splendid example was godliness, that is, that behavior intended to earn Allah's approval alone. He feared only Allah, and never strayed from the true path, never succumbing to people's whims and desires. This aspect of the morality of the Qur'an is actually a source of great ease and beauty for people. Trying to please others and to make oneself favored by others, trying to win the pleasure of both Allah and others, and seeking praise from them, are great hinderences to whatever one does. Such people are unable to think and behave honestly as they would otherwise like to, and, since they are unable to please everyone all together, they ultimately fail to receive the praise they were looking for. They panic at the slightest mistake, and fear that they have lost the confidence and respect of those they are trying to please when they see that they are not fully happy with them.
On the contrary, Muslims who strive only for the pleasure of Allah, and fear only Him, never suffer the burden of things that will be harmful to them in this world and the next. They do not worry about whether or not people will be pleased with them. They are therefore always at peace. Since they know that, in the event of a mistake they will have to explain themselves only to Allah and need seek forgiveness only from Him, they feel no concern or worry.
By his words and behavior, the Prophet (saas) taught the faithful to live with purity of faith. He thus lifted the heavy weight of "gaining the pleasure of others" from all of humanity. That, of course, is but one of the difficulties believers experienced that he did away with. The Prophet Muhammad (saas) was an example to all Muslims in many matters that will bring good and great blessings in this world and in the hereafter.
Allah has revealed that someone with purity of faith would not be the same as one who worships others besides Allah:
Allah has made a metaphor for them of a man owned by several partners in dispute with one another and another man wholly owned by a single man. Are they the same? Praise be to Allah! The fact is that most of them do not know. (Surat az-Zumar: 29)
Idolatry was not the only burden the Prophet (saas) lifted from the shoulders of the faithful. He relieved them of all burdens that made life difficult for them, called them to the best and easiest way of life, and found solutions to all problems. That is why those who abide by the Sunnah of Allah's Messenger (saas) live in comfort and at peace. Some of the hadiths on this subject state:
"The Prophet sent Mu'adh and Abu Musa to Yemen telling them. 'Treat the people with ease and don't be hard on them; give them glad tidings and don't fill them with aversion; and love each other, and don't differ'." 1
"The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, did not have to choose between two matters, but that he chose the easier of them as long as it was not a wrong action. If it was a wrong action, he was the furthest of people from it." 2
1 Sahih Bukhari, Volume 4, Book 52, Number 275
2 Sahih Bukhari, Book 47, Number 1.2