Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked:
Will a person be rewarded if he reads the Qur’aan, even if he does not understand its meanings?
The Holy Qur’aan is blessed, as Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “(This is) a Book (the Qur’aan) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings, that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may remember” [Saad 38:29]. So man is enjoined to read it, whether he understands its meanings or not. But the believer who is enjoined to act upon it should not read Qur’aan without understanding its meanings. If a person wants to learn medicine, for example, and studies the books of medicine, he cannot benefit from them unless he understands their meanings and they are explained to him; in fact he will be very keen to understand the meanings so that he can apply them. So why do you think anyone should read the Book of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, which is a healing for what is in the hearts and exhortation to people, without pondering and without understanding its meanings? For this reason the Companions (may Allah be pleased with them) would not move on from ten verses until they had learned them and learned the knowledge they contained and how to act upon it. So they learned the Qur’aan and knowledge and action all together.
A person will be rewarded for reading the Qur’aan whether he understands its meanings or not, but he should be very keen to understand its meanings and to learn these meanings from scholars who are trustworthy in their knowledge. If he has no access to a scholar who can teach him the meanings, he may refer to the trustworthy books of tafseer, such as Tafseer Ibn Jareer, Tafseer Ibn Katheer and others which pay attention to the tafseer that is based on reports narrated from the Sahaabah and the Taabi‘een (may Allah be pleased with them).
End quote from Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb, tape 85, side A.