If the website you are visiting is called Qur’ān 12-21, it is because the first translation of the Qur’ān in Western Europe was composed in the 12th century, and we live in the 21st century. Qur’ān 12-21 presents translations of the Qur’ān in different European languages from the origins to the present day.
Compared and contextualized translations of the Qur’ān
These translations are parallelized, which means that we present them side by side, and by clicking on a verse you can see the equivalent passage in the adjacent columns.
Some of these translations are still in use today; while others have become, over time, simple historical documents. The introductory notes will help you make the distinction: you can consult them from the Contexts pages.
A recent numeration
Please note that the numbering of the verses in each sūrah, i.e. each chapter of the Qur’ān, is late. These verses were distinguished from each other very early on, and were even counted: as early as the first century of Islam. But they were not numbered.
In the Muslim world, this numbering did not appear until 1924, in the Arabic edition published in Cairo. In Europe it first appeared in 1698 with the edition of Ludovico Marracci, and became established in 1834 with the edition of Gustav Flügel. The consequence is that for translations prior to this date, it was the Qur’ān 12-21 team that numbered the verses: this numbering did not appear in the original editions.
Contextual and historical information
Our website might also give you the impression that all the translators through the centuries have consulted the Qur’ān in a strictly identical form. This is not the case. The Qur’ānic text has remained very stable, which makes a comparison worthwhile, but yet variants have existed. On this point, our Contexts pages will accompany you: look in particular at the introductory note to the Cairo edition.
Quick access to notes from the authors and Qur’ān 12-21
You can move or delete the columns. The small triangles indicate the footnotes of the original editions: when the point turns to the right, it indicates comments made by the translators; when it goes down, it signals the translators’ summaries. As for the small circles, they refer to comments added by Qur’ān 12-21 members and collaborators.
Providing reliable information to the general public
Briefly, our aim is to show that the translation of the Qur’ān has a history, in which our representations of Islam can sometimes be rooted. By creating this tool, we hope to provide a space for scientific vulgarisation, which will be of interest to anyone curious to discover this history and get reliable information about it.
A collegial, scientific and academic work
Our introductory notes are placed under the responsibility of their authors. However, they have been submitted to a scientific council formed by academics: Éric Chaumont (†), François Déroche (Collège de France), Guillaume Dye (Université Libre de Bruxelles), Ziad Elmarsafy (King’s College London), Claire Gallien (Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3), Olivier Hanne (Saint-Cyr Coëtquidan - CESCM-Poitiers), Khaled Kchir (Tunis University), Pierre Lory (École Pratique des Hautes Études), Philippe Martin (Université Lumière Lyon 2 - director of the “Institut Supérieur d’Etude des Religions et de la Laïcité”), Oissila Saaïdia (Université Lumière Lyon 2 - former director of the “Institut de Recherche sur le Maghreb Contemporain”) and John Tolan (Université de Nantes - principal investigator of the ERC project The European Qur’ān).