Choosing the easier option
Aishah (radi Allahu anha) said: “Whenever the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) was given a choice between two matters, he would (always) choose the easier as long as it was not sinful to do so; but if it was sinful he was most strict in avoiding it. He never took revenge upon anybody for his own sake; but when Allah’s Legal Bindings were outraged, he would take revenge for Allah’s sake.”
[Sahih Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
The two things between which the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) would make his choice could be religious or worldly. For instance, if he were asked to award one of the two punishments to somebody, he would choose the milder one, and if he had the liberty of choice between two obligations, he would opt for the easier one. Between war and peace he would always go for peace, provided it involved the interest of Islam and Muslims.
Moreover, in all matters he used to take the line of least resistance, in case it went without the disobedience of Allah. In this Hadith, a principle has been defined for Muslims in general as well that they are free to take to an easy way but this must not entail a loophole in respect of the Shari`ah.
Secondly, the most excellent character of the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) also comes to our view that he never retaliated for personal reasons. His extraordinary concern for the sanctity of Islamic Law is also displayed by the fact that he could never brook the transgression of Allah’s limits, and the transgressor was sure to be punished by him. The Prophet’s attitude also explains and delimits the sphere of morality that to let the violator of Divine law go scot-free must not be counted as a sign of good manners. Rather it reflects the lack of religious sensibility. Not to take exception to lapses in mundane affairs surely speaks of moral excellence, but we are not allowed to dispense with the evasion of religious rules.
And Allah knows best!