At the launch of his English translation of the Noble Quran, Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi ‘Uthmani, may Allah lengthen his shadow over us, said (I paraphrase):

It was not the practise of our Akabir (Elders) to ‘launch’ their books. Hadhrat Hakeem al-Ummah Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi, may Allah have mercy on him, had upto one thousand publications. However, he never ‘launched’ any of his works. It was for this reason that I was hesitant in launching my translation of the Quran. However, I agreed for it to take place for two reasons. Firstly, Maulana Isma’il Gangat (who is in-charge at Azhar Academy) said that this would be a good way of informing the general public of this translation (and thus maximum people being able to benefit from it). Secondly, I felt that this would be a good opportunity for me to talk about the Qur’an.

In his talk, Hadhrat Mufti sahib refuted those who claim that there is no benefit in reciting the Qur’an without understanding it’s meanings. Hadhrat Mufti sahib quoted the verses of the Qur’an which elucidate the Prophetic functions;

  1. Reciting the verses of the Qur’an.
  2. Teaching [the meanings and necessary explanations of] the Book (Qur’an)
  3. Teaching of Hikmah (wisdom). Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ sahib, may Allah have mercy on him, writes in his Ma’ariful Qur’an, ”the blessed companions and their immediate successors have interpreted Hikmah as Sunnah or the ‘Way of the Holy Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam’.(1)
  4. Purifying the people. 

Hadhrat Mufti Taqi sahib explained that the Prophetic function of ‘teaching the Quran’ is a function distinct from that of ‘reciting the verses’.

As I am unable to quote Hadhrat Mufti sahib’s words, I reproduce relevant commentary from Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi’s Ma’ariful Quran, which I hope will concisely explain Hadhrat Mufti Taqi sahib’s main point.

And, our Lord, raise in their midst a Messenger from among them, who should recite to them Your verses, and teach them the Book and the wisdom, and cleanse them of all impurities. Indeed You, and You alone, are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

Verse 129, Surah Al-Baqarah

In the commentary of this verse, Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ sahib writes:

The verses speaks seperately of ‘reciting’ the Holy Quran and of ‘teaching’ it. Since ‘reciting’ pertains to the words, and ‘teaching’ to their meanings, the explicit distinction between the two shows that the words of the Holy Quran are no less important in themselves and for themselves in their meanings, and that the recitation and preservations of the words is obligatory, and constitutes an act of worship.(2)

A page further, he writes:

In short, the word Yatlu (recite) in the present verse leaves no doubt as to the fact that the ‘recitation of the verses’ is an end in itself, for one does not recite meanings but words. Of course, it goes without saying that Allah has sent the Holy Qur’an for us to understand it and to follow it’s guidance. To be content with memorizing the words alone and being indifferent to the meanings would merely show one’s ignorance of the nature of the Book of Allah, and one’s ungratefulness.
But there are so many people these days who suppose that the Holy Qur’an is like other books, and believe that it is a waste of time to read or memorize it’s words without knowing what they mean. In view of this wide-spread error, we cannot insist too much on the truth that the recitation of the words of the Holy Qur’an is in itself a regular act of worship and brings great reward. This is borne out by the practice of the Holy Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam and his blessed Companions.(3)

[1] Ma’ariful Qur’an, (English Translation), Volume 1,  Page 337

[2] Ma’ariful Qur’an, (English Translation), Volume 1,  Page 334

[3[ Ma’ariful Qur’an, (English Translation), Volume 1,  Page 335