At the time of the Prophet of Islam, there were certain people in Madinah who talked of the truth, yet they did nothing for its sake and used beautiful words to cover up their misdeeds. Exposing these people, the Qur’an says in the chapter Al-‘Imran (The Family of Imran): Those who exult in their misdeeds and love to be praised for what they have not done should not suppose that they are secure from punishment; they shall suffer a grievous punishment. (3:188)
According to this divine principle set forth in the Qur’an, it is only real action that matters: empty words have no value in the eyes of God. Those who utter such words are referred to in the Qur’an as hypocrites. And hypocritical behavior is not acceptable to God. One who talks of the truth yet does nothing for the truth, is guilty of falsity. He is trying to receive credit for something which he never did at all. He will be discredited before God; no credit will be given to him.
Why do some people speak like this? They do nothing but try to utter beautiful words or write beautiful essays. These people try to please others—their audiences or their readers. These people may be applauded by their audiences and elicit praise from their readers, but this kind of speech or writing has no value before God. There are always people, both men, and women, who can be fooled by false words but God Almighty, who is all-knowing, cannot be fooled in this way. According to the Qur’an, mere lip service—for example, just saying ‘sorry’ when a mistake is made, or saying ‘thank you’ when receiving help—is not enough. One who talks of the truth yet does nothing for the truth, is guilty of falsity. He is trying to receive credit for something which he never did at all. When a mistake is made, you have to repent in your heart and when you are given much-needed assistance, you have to be grateful with all your heart and soul. Words are no alternative to deeds.
There is a great difference between social manners and real morality. Social manners are nothing but a self-deceiving practice; while real moral value is quite different, being based on great moral and ethical sensibility. God Almighty grants His rewards only to those men and women who are honest and sincere; who are the well-wishers of others and who try to do something for them in a substantial sense and not simply for show. Never try to take false credit.