There was a man who lived amongst the children of Israel named Barseesa. His worship and devotion to Allah was so great that we call him ‘aabid bani Isra’eel’: the great worshipper from the Children of Israel.
During his time, the King of the land made a call for men to join the army to fight in a jihad against an enemy. Amongst those who wanted to sign up were three brothers, but there was one problem. They had one sister and no other family to look after her. So they decided to go to Barseesa, the righteous man, and ask him to look after her in their absence, as they feared no evil from him.
Barseesa immediately refused their request: he would rather devote his time to worship of Allah. But when the three brothers went away, shaitan came to Barseesa and whispered to him “If you don’t look after the sister, then they will leave her in the hands of someone else, and then her safety isn’t guaranteed.”
So Barseesa changed his mind and took responsibility for the sister while the three brothers left. He left her in a house next to the building in which he prayed and each day he would prepare her some food and leave it outside his house for her, and then she would come and pick it up.
After some time, shaitan again came to Barseesa and suggested “why don’t you go and deliver the food to her doorstep. As it is, she is coming out of the house and everyone sees her, and you can see her inconvenience.”
So Barseesa accepted this suggestion and started taking the food right to the doorstep of where she was staying.
This continued for a while until shaitan came to him again and said “how can you leave the food at her doorstep? She still has to open the door and people see her.” Barseesa again changed his plan and decided to take the food into the house. But that was it, he decide. No further.
So this continued for a while until shaitan came and whispered to him “why dont you ever ask her how she is, at the moment she lives like a prisoner no one ever talks to her.” So now Barseesa started to talk to her, and soon they were smiling and laughing with each other and then passions flared, and then they fell in love, and then Barseesa, `aabid Bani Israeel, committed zina.
The story doesn’t end there because she became pregnant.
Shaitan now came to Barseesa and said “What have you done? If those three brothers come back and find their sister with a child, they will know that you betrayed their trust and committed zina with their sister, and then they are going to kill you. The only way to get out of this situation is to kill the child.” So Barseesa killed the child.
Shaitan came back to him again and warned “Do you think that the woman is going to keep quiet about the fact that you killed her child? The only way you can save yourself from this situation is to kill her too.” So Barseesa killed her as well.
Time passed, and the three brothers returned from jihad and asked for their sister. Barseesa merely pointed to a fake grave in which he had buried some animal bones. So the brothers cried and returned to their home.
However, shaitan came to each of them in a dream and said “that man Barseesa is a liar. When you were away he committed zina with your sister and then he killed her and their child and buried her in such-and-such place. And the grave you were shown is a fake grave with animal bones in it.”
When these three brothers woke up, they were shocked that they had all shared the same dream. So they checked the false grave to find the animal bones, and found the real grave of their sister and her child. When they interrogated Barseesa about it he confessed to everything, so they chained him up and dragged him to the King so that he could be executed. On the way there, shaitan appeared to Barseesa in a physical form and said “O Barseesa, do you know who i am? I am shaitan, and i am the one who has led you along this path. And now i am the only one who can save you.” Barseesa begged for help, so shaitaan instructed “If you prostrate to me i will save you.” So Barseesa prostrated to shaitan and … shaitan disappeared.
Barseesa ex-`aabid Bani Israeel was led away and executed. The once best of people died as the worst of poeple.
The point of the story is, you might think at the beginning that what you are doing is fine and that you can keep check on your emotions and everything, but you don’t know where this will lead to. Shaitan didn’t come to Barseesa directly and tell him to commit zina or murder, rather he took the softly-softly approach, and Barseesa fell for it. This is why islam doesn’t only forbid acts of indecency but it also forbids actions leading to it!
When Allah has said that shaytan is an avowed enemy to you and we dont understand all his little ways that he uses to trap us, why open the door for him…
This story was mentioned by ibn Katheer in his tafsir.