Muhammad was a perfect example of moderation to his followers in every walk of life. In expenditure, he advised them to spend within their means, neither to be so lavish as to make themselves destitute, nor to hold back their wealth from those who had a claim on their resources.
"Do not hold back altogether out of miserliness and render yourself blame worthy, nor spend without restraint and exhaust your wealth, thus becoming yourself destitute."
He gave mankind a golden rule of moderation between the two extremes of lavish expenditure and miserliness; neither to be extravagant in ordinary spending as well as in charity, nor to be niggardly. The people who practice this rule in their lives are praised in these words
"Who are neither extravagant nor miserly in their spending, but keep a just balance between the two extremes."
He taught, by his own example, the same rule of moderation in eating, in dressing and in worship (ibadah). Abdullah ibn Amr ibn al-'Aas said that once he decided to engage himself in worship all the time; to fast during the day and read the whole Qur'an during the night. His father married him to a young woman. Once his father asked his wife about him, and she replied, "He is a very pious man and never comes to his bed for sleep nor keep any relationship with anyone." His father became very angry with him and said that he had married him to a very gentle woman and that he had kept her in suspense all this time. But in his enthusiasm for worship, he did not take notice of this. His father complained to God's Messenger, who said to him, "I have heard that you fast during the day and pray all night." He replied that that was right. Then God's Messenger said, "Don't do that, but instead fast sometimes and eat sometimes; pray during the night and sleep as well, for your body has a claim on you; your eyes have a claim on you; lack of sleep will weaken them; your wife and children and relatives have a claim on you, too."'
Abdullah bin Amer tells that the Prophet said, "God likes to see the marks of his bounty on his servant."
A similar tradition is reported by Bukhari. Some companions of God's Messenger resolved to engage in worship; one said that he would pray all night; another said that he would always fast and never stop; the third said that he would never marry and never have any relations with women. God's Messenger heard about them and said, "I swear by God that I fear God and realise my responsibilities to Him more than you, but this is my way: I fast sometimes and sometimes I do not fast; I pray during the night and sleep as well; and marry women. Anyone who does not like my way has no relation with me."
Anas reported God's Messenger as saying, "Don't be too cruel to yourselves, certain nations adopted severity towards themselves so God punished them. You can see their remnants in churches and monasteries." Muhammad forbade asceticism and renunciation of the normal pleasures of life, nor did he like perpetual and formal prayers in isolation. He told people to live the normal lives of ordinary human beings, for service to God was done through pure lives in the turmoil of this world. He wanted men to mix with other men, so that they could discipline themselves and learn resistance to evil and uphold the standard of Truth and Justice against heavy odds, wherever necessary.'
Abu Hurairah reported God's Messenger as saying, "Religion is easy, but if anyone overdoes it, it gets the better of him, so keep to the right course, approximate to perfection and rejoice." Ibn Abbas reported God's Messenger as saying, "A good manner of conduct and moderation are a twenty-fifth part of Prophethood." God's Messenger is also reported to have said, "Moderation is the best of actions.'' He lived the moderate life of an ordinary person, though he was God's Messenger and ruler of a state. He enjoyed the ordinary pleasures of life, worked like an ordinary man in his house and in public, upheld the principles of Truth and Justice in his privas well as public life and always abstained from the extremes of life. All his life, in Makkah as an ordinary trader and in Medinah as a ruler, he led a simple life, avoiding extremes, and taught his followers by his personal example to live a similarly moderate life. The following Hadiths (prophet sayings) are just examples of what Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) ordered the people to follow:
1.) Narrated 'Aishah (radiallahu anhaa): The Prophet came in when a woman was sitting beside me. He asked me, "Who is she?" I said: "She is the one whose performance of Salat (prayer) has become the talk of the town." Addressing her, he (peace be upon him) said, (What is this!) You are required to take upon yourselves only what you can carry out easily. By Allah, Allah does not withhold His Mercy and forgiveness of you until you neglect and give up (good works). Allah likes the deeds best which a worshipper can carry out constantly." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
a. This Hadith prohibits 'Ibadah beyond one's capacity lest one gets tired and renounces it altogether. One should be, therefore, moderate in this respect.
b. Allah likes that good action which is done regularly, even if it is a small one. Any deed, which is done continuously, will also have an everlasting reward. On the contrary, a good deed, which is done for a short period, will have a short return.
2.) Narrated Anas (radiallahu anhu): Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) came into the mosque and noticed a rope stretched between two poles. He enquired, "What is this rope for?" He was told: "This is Zainab's rope. When during her voluntary prayer, she begins to feel tired, she grasps it for support." Allah's Messenger ~ said, "Untie it. You should offer prayers so long as you feel active. When you feel tired, you should go to sleep." [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
This Hadith deals with the following three points:
a. Firstly, it forbids undue strictness and taking support of anything in the course of Salat.
b. If anything forbidden can be checked by hand, it must be stopped immediately.
c. One should be moderate in 'Ibadah and select such times for optional and voluntary prayers when one feels real pleasure in them.
3.) Narrated Jabir Ibn Samurah (radiallahu anhu): I used to observe prayer with the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his Salat (prayer) was of a moderate length and his (Khutbah) sermon too was moderate in length. [Muslim]
This Hadith tells us that Imam should neither lengthen the Salat nor give long sermon in the congregational Salat because both these things are against the practice of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
4.) Narrated Ibn 'Abbas (radiallahu anhumaa): While the Prophet (peace be upon him) was delivering Khutbah (religious talk), he noticed a man who was standing, so he asked about him and was told that he was Abu Israel who had taken a vow to remain standing and not sit, or go into the shade, or speak while observing fasting. Thereupon Allah's Messenger said, "Command him to speak, to go into the shade, to sit and to complete his fast". [Al-Bukhari]
a. This Hadith makes it abundantly clear that one cannot attain the Pleasure of Allah by means of self-invented methods. It can only be achieved by ways and means prescribed in the Qur'an and Sunnah.
b. One should never vow for anything which is smeared with sin or which is not permitted by religion. An instance of this is quoted in the above mentioned Hadith.
c. The majority of 'Ulama' (religious scholars) who do not think the expiation of such vows necessary, quote this Hadith in support of their view. They argue that the Prophet ~ has not prescribed expiation in such cases as is evident from this Hadith.
To conclude the moderation, At the time the Prophet peace be upon him ordered the people to perform acts of worship, he warned them against going to extremes (in practicing religion). He did so in order to prevent them from harming themselves physically or spiritually and from neglecting their other responsibilities and activities. The Prophet peace be upon him asked people to do good actions regularly, no matter how small. He said, Allah likes the deeds best, even if it is a small, which a worshipper can carry out constantly. If the Prophet saw any one of his companions being immoderate, he would be displeased and would then instruct him to moderation.