No single word in English can convey its full meaning.
'To follow' is the closest to its primary meaning.
To read is only secondary, for in meaning too, words follow each other,
one closely behind the other, in an orderly and meaningful in sequence
and order is not observed, the meaning is destroyed.
So primarily tilawah means to move closely behind,
to go forward,
to flow in a sequence,
to go in pursuit,
to take as espouse the cause,
to act upon,
practise a way of life,
to follow the train of thought -or to follow
Tilawah or recitation is an act
in which your whole person -soul, heart, mind, tongue and body- participate,
in short your whole existence.
In reading the Qur'an, mind and body,
reason and feeling lose their direction;
they become fused.
As the tongue recites and words flow from lips,
the mind ponders,
the heart reflects,
the soul absorbs,
tears well up in the eyes,
the heart quakes and trembles,
the skin shivers and softens just as the heart does,
the remaining no duality any more between the two,
even your hair may stand on end.