From the Book: “Tanmbihul Ghafeleen”
ADMONITION FOR THE NEGLECTFUL by Faqih Abu Lais Samarqandi (A.R) Page: 59
A person was once infuriated when he noticed people worshipping a tree. He grabbed an axe and proceeded to chop it down.
En route he met the accursed Iblees, who asked him where he was headed. He informed Iblees that he intended to chop the tree. Iblees bade him to leave the tree alone and let the worshippers suffer the consequences. An argument ensued and the two eventually wrestled thrice, Iblees being defeated each time. When Iblees finally realized that he will never defeat the person, he adopted another approach.
He told the person that if he left the tree to be, he would find four dirhams beneath his bed every morning. When the person hesitated, Iblees solemnly promised this for him. The person accepted the proposal and returned home.
As promised, he found the four dirhams on the promised place each morning for several mornings. However, when he did not find anything for two consecutive mornings, he grabbed his axe in a fit of anger and again proceeded to the tree.
Again he met the accursed Iblees on the road. When Iblees asked him where he was going, he replied that he was on his way to cut down the tree that people were worshiping. Iblees then told him to back off because he would not allow Him to proceed. Iblees said, “On the first occasion you wanted to cut the tree down for Allah’s pleasure and I would never been able to stop you despite my hardest efforts. Now you intend to chop it up on account of four dirhams. If you just take another step I will sever your head from your body!” The person was thus obliged to return home.
This shows that when actions are done for Allah’s pleasures, shaitaan is humbled. When actions are done for worldly benefit, even shaitaan gets bold.