ji·​had | \ ji-ˈhäd How to pronounce jihad (audio) , chiefly British -ˈhad \
variants: or less commonly

Definition of jihad

1 : a holy war waged on behalf of Islam as a religious duty also : a personal struggle in devotion to Islam especially involving spiritual discipline
2 : a crusade for a principle or belief

Examples of jihad in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web While the Taliban have confined their struggle to Afghanistan, the IS militants pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the reclusive leader of the group in the Middle East, and embraced his call for a worldwide jihad against non-Muslims. Fox News, "Islamic State expands reach in Afghanistan, threatening West," 10 June 2019 Officials said that Damache’s group recruited men online to wage jihad in South Asia and Europe, and sought to recruit women with western passports to travel through Europe in support of the cause. Claudia Lauer, The Seattle Times, "Algerian tied to cartoonist death plot guilty of terrorism," 23 July 2018 The group, the Center for Security Policy, has also spread the false idea that former president Barack Obama is a Muslim and alleged that mainstream Muslim organizations in the United States are secretly agents of anti-American jihad. BostonGlobe.com, "The old Mar-a-Lago is gone. This is the new Mar-a-Lago.," 23 Nov. 2019 And that, fundamentally, has been the argument underpinning continued U.S. support for Saudi Arabia, which is put forward as the great counterweight to the forces of jihad and chaos in Tehran. Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, "The Iran Dilemma, the Saudi Dilemma, and the Iran–Saudi Dilemma," 20 Sep. 2019 Christians are also being killed by Boko Haram, a jihad terrorist group, in the Borno state, the report said. Fox News, "More than 1,000 Christians killed by Islamic militants in Nigeria in 2019: report," 24 Dec. 2019 The alliance also broadened al-Shabaab’s ideology to include global jihad. Nicholas Bariyo, WSJ, "Group Behind Nairobi Attack Has Eluded Military," 19 Jan. 2019 God, be pleased with those who want to go for jihad – and blind those who are watching and want to capture them. Jennifer Williams, Vox, "Osama bin Laden’s son, the “Crown Prince of Terror,” is dead. Or is he?," 1 Aug. 2019 In a 17-minute audio message, one elderly Taliban ideologue voiced concern that negotiators were about to sign away the right to jihad, considered an important pillar in Islam. New York Times, "In Afghanistan’s War and Peace, WhatsApp Delivers the Message," 26 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jihad.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of jihad

1837, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for jihad

Arabic jihād

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Time Traveler for jihad

Time Traveler

The first known use of jihad was in 1837

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Statistics for jihad

Last Updated

14 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jihad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jihad. Accessed 31 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for jihad


How to pronounce jihad (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of jihad

: a war fought by Muslims to defend or spread their beliefs

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More from Merriam-Webster on jihad

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with jihad

Spanish Central: Translation of jihad

Nglish: Translation of jihad for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of jihad for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about jihad

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