"Every Muslim fears the scales of justice, which weigh his good deeds against his bad deeds," writes Ergun and Emir Caner, in their book, Unveiling Islam.
This is best illustrated by the following parable:
A man is hired and is told that at the end of five years he will be given a million dollars if he performs well.
He is given certain duties but is not told how he is to judge whether he is doing the job right or not. He is given an instruction manual for the job but is told that it is inaccurate; that the only good copy is written in a language that he cannot read.
All he knows is that he must be right at least 51 percent of the time or he will get nothing. Would you be willing to work for five years never knowing for sure whether you would get the million dollars or nothing?
As in the parable, the Muslim has no assurance of heaven. He is in the "terror of the balances." Will his good deeds, prayers and other rituals balance favorably against his sins to be accepted by Allah into paradise? He can never know for sure.
The Caners were raised in a Muslim family and found salvation in Christ as young men. They learned that the Bible taught that we can know that we have eternal life.
They write: "Good works no more cover bad works than an act of kindness can take away the guilt of a murderer. If you are a criminal, justice demands that punishment must be meted out. And it was. Jesus Christ paid the infinite penalty for sin."
Unveiling Islam provides a background in basic Muslim beliefs and presents a practical strategy that Christians can use to open a productive dialogue with Muslims.