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 Ivan converts to Islam, at first mostly just to fit in, but is quickly and forcibly recruited to engage in radical jihad. Justin Torres, New York Times, "2 Novels by ‘Alternative Nobel’ Winner Take On Power and Its Abuses," 5 May 2020 Mr Khamenei has reportedly sent orders to Iraqi militias to await his call for jihad before striking American forces, but the chain of command has been broken. The Economist, "After the assassination How Iran can respond to the killing of Qassem Suleimani," 9 Jan. 2020 Those were the exact words American terrorist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki used in a message posted in March 2010 in calling for jihad against the United States, suggesting the person posting the message was deeply familiar with al-Awlaki's propaganda. Nic Robertson And Paul Cruickshank, CNN, "Tweet purportedly from gunman in Pensacola Navy base shooting suggests al Qaeda inspiration," 7 Dec. 2019 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

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

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Jihad.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jihad. Accessed 1 Jun. 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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