By Maulana Wahiduddin Khan
At the time of the prophet of Islam, there were certain people in Medina who talked of truth, yet did nothing for its sake and used beautiful words to cover up their misdeeds. Exposing them, the Quran says: 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 Quran, 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 Quran as hypocrites. 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. He will be discredited before God. Why do some people speak like this? They utter beautiful words or write beautiful essays to please others. These people may be applauded by their audiences but this kind of speech or writing has no value before God. There are always people who can be fooled by false words but God Almighty, who is all knowing, cannot be fooled in this way.
According to the Quran, mere lip service -- for example, just saying sorry when a mistake is made, or saying thank you when receiving help -- is not enough.
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.