Recitation and listening involves different organs and senses. When someone recites the Quran, the mind is actively focusing on the recitation and various muscles of the body are involved in producing and listening to the recitation. Listening to the Quran does not have similar involvement of the body and mind. The mind may be attentive to the recitation for a while but may wander and think of something else. A beep from the smart phone will change the focus from listening to Quran to reading messages on the phone. So an initial intention of listening to over 2 hours of surah al-Baqarah can turn out to be only a few minutes of attention on the recitation.
Some people may feel satisfied that they are getting good effect just by listening to the Quran i.e. without the need for reciting. This satisfaction may make them spend more time listening without the need for reciting based on the argument that the effect can be obtained simply by listening. If listening and reciting involves different organs and concentration, then surely the effect cannot be the same. Listening and reciting is analogous to smelling food and eating food. Smelling and eating involves different organs. One can be happy after smelling food but it can never give the same satisfaction as eating the food. If we believe that smelling food is sufficient because we are getting the positive effect e.g. making us happy, then we are actually deluding ourselves and depriving ourselves of the benefits of eating the food. Similarly if we believe that listening to the Quran is sufficient, then we are deluding ourselves and depriving ourselves of the benefits of the recitation of the Quran.
There are many reasons why some people may not know how to read the Quran e.g. didn't have the opportunity to learn, not practising Islam in the past, pure laziness etc. Some will try to read the Quran using Romanised transliteration. The intention is good but there is also a big problem. Transliteration does not have a standard spelling and this can cause the person to pronounce the word wrongly and may even dangerously change the meaning. Furthermore those who rely on transliteration normally do not have the intention of reciting the whole Quran in whatever time span i.e. the focus is normally on reciting limited verses of the Quran.
For those who do not know how to read the Quran, there are now many ways and opportunities to learn. We have recognised this problem for a long time and have tried to make the process of learning to read the Quran easier. Our Tajwid from Scratch web application addresses many of the issues that prevented people from learning. Those who are too embarrassed to learn because of their age can learn in the privacy of their home. Those who do not have the time to travel to learn can also start learning from wherever they are. Those who couldn't find a teacher can start immediately. Those who are too busy to allocate a specific time for learning can choose whatever time that suits them.
The question we have to answer to ourselves is whether we want to have the full benefit of reciting the Quran or we are fully satisfied with the limited benefit of listening to the Quran. Those who want to learn using our Tajwid from Scratch web application can register for a 2-week free trial at http://tajwid.pisang.uk.
If there is a will, there is a way.