Jihad: A Description

  • Jonathan Matusitz


As an Arabic term, the root of jihad indicates exertion or struggle, although it still has more than one contested meaning today. In Islamic tradition, jihad is often interpreted as religiously authorized warfare against non-Muslims and Muslims who are not considered true adherents to the faith. It is important to observe that the term is also used to signify nonviolent and thoroughly internal struggles, such as soul-searching, personal improvement, spiritual betterment, and social activism.


  1. Aboul-Enein, Youssef H., and Sherifa Zuhur. Islamic Rulings on Warfare. Carlisle Barracks, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, 2004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abū ʻAmr, Ziyād. Islamic Fundamentalism in the West Bank and Gaza: Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994.Google Scholar
  3. Abu Sulayman, Abdul Hamid. The Islamic Theory of International Relations: New Directions for Islamic Methodology and Thought. Herndon, VA: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1987.Google Scholar
  4. Al-Dawoody, Ahmed. The Islamic Law of War: Justifications and Regulations. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Ali, Farhana, and Jerrold Post. “The History and Evolution of Martyrdom in the Service of Defensive Jihad: An Analysis of Suicide Bombers in Current Conflicts.” Social Research: An International Quarterly 75, no. 2 (2008): 615–54.Google Scholar
  6. Al-Rasheed, Madawi. “The Quest to Understand Global Jihad: The Terrorism Industry and Its Discontents.” Middle Eastern Studies 45, no. 2 (2009): 329–38. Scholar
  7. al-Suri, Abu-Mus’ab. The Call to Global Islamic Resistance. DCIA Counterterrorism Center. Langley, VA: Office of Terrorism Analysis, 2004.Google Scholar
  8. Anderson, Lisa. “Antiquated before They Can Ossify: States That Fail before They Form.” Journal of International Affairs 58, no. 1 (2004): 1–16.Google Scholar
  9. Awan, Akil N. “Success of the Meta-Narrative: How Jihadists Maintain Legitimacy.” CTC Sentinel 2, no. 11 (2009): 6–8.Google Scholar
  10. Bar, Shmuel. “The Implications of the Caliphate.” Comparative Strategy 35, no. 1 (2016): 1–14. Scholar
  11. Beaumont, Peter. “Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi: The ISIS Chief with the Ambition to Overtake al Qaida.” The Guardian, June 12, 2014, A1.Google Scholar
  12. Berkey, Jonathan. The Formation of Islam. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.Google Scholar
  13. Blanchard, Christopher M. Al Qaeda: Statements and Evolving Ideology. Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service, 2007.Google Scholar
  14. Bonner, Michael. Jihad in Islamic History: Doctrines and Practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008.Google Scholar
  15. Calabresi, Massimo. “Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi: The Head of ISIS Exports Extreme Violence and Radical Beliefs around the Globe.” TIME 154 (2015): 102–3.Google Scholar
  16. Coates, David. The Oxford Companion to American Politics. Vol. 2. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  17. Delong-Bas, Natana J. Wahhabi Islam: From Revival and Reform to Global Jihad. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004.Google Scholar
  18. Devji, Faisal. Landscapes of the Jihad: Militancy, Morality, Modernity. London: Hurst, 2005.Google Scholar
  19. Devroe, Elke, and Paul Ponsaers. “The Power Context of Police Reform in Belgium—The Brussels Case: A Shift in the Style of Policing after the Terrorist Attacks.” Policing: A Journal of Policy and Practice.
  20. Donner, Reed M. “The Sources of Islamic Conception of War.” In Just War and Jihad: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on War and Peace in Western and Islamic Traditions, edited by John Kelsay and James Turner Johnson, 31–71. New York: Greenwood, 1991.Google Scholar
  21. El Fadl, Khaled Abou. Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
  22. Euben, Roxanne L. “Killing (for) Politics: Jihad, Martyrdom, and Political Action.” Political Theory 30, no. 1 (2002): 4–35. Scholar
  23. Gelvin, James L. The Arab Uprisings: What Everyone Needs to Know. 2nd ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.Google Scholar
  24. Gibbon, Edward. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. London: Bell & Daldy, 1867.Google Scholar
  25. Golan, Arnon. “European Imperialism and the Development of Modern Palestine: Was Zionism a Form of Colonialism?” Space and Polity 5, no. 2 (2001): 127–43. Scholar
  26. Gold, Dore. Hatred’s Kingdom. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2003.Google Scholar
  27. Guerrero-Castro, Cristian E. “Strategic Communication for Security & National Defense: Proposal for an Interdisciplinary Approach.” Connections: The Quarterly Journal XII, no. 2 (2013): 27–52.Google Scholar
  28. Gully, Adrian, Mike Carter, and Elsaid Badawi. Modern Written Arabic: A Comprehensive Grammar. 2nd ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.Google Scholar
  29. Gunaratna, Rohan. “Al Qaeda’s Ideology.” Current Trends in Islamist Ideology 1 (2005): 59–83.Google Scholar
  30. Hashim Kamali, Mohammad. Shari’ah Law: An Introduction. London: Oneworld Publications, 2008.Google Scholar
  31. Hillenbrand, Carole. The Crusades: Islamic Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2017.Google Scholar
  32. Hoyland, Robert G. In God’s Path: The Arab Conquests and the Creation of an Islamic Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  33. Huntington, Samuel P. “The Clash of Civilizations?” Foreign Affairs 72, no. 3 (1993): 22–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Jabareen, Yosef. “The Emerging Islamic State: Terror, Territoriality, and the Agenda of Social Transformation.” Geoforum 58 (2015): 51–5. Scholar
  35. Jackson, Roy. What Is Islamic Philosophy? New York: Routledge, 2014.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jackson, Sherman. “Jihad and the Modern World.” Journal of Islamic Law and Culture 7, no. 1 (2002): 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Johnson, James Turner. The Holy War Idea in Western and Islamic Traditions. University Park: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997.Google Scholar
  38. ———. “Jihad and Just War.” First Things 124 (2002): 12–14.Google Scholar
  39. Joshua, Segun, and Felix Chidozie. “Al-Shabaab: An Emerging Terrorist Group in Somalia.” African Renaissance 12, no. 1 (2015): 81–105.Google Scholar
  40. Judy, Ronald. “Sayyid Qutb’s fiqh al‐waqi’i, or New Realist Science.” Boundary 2 31, no. 2 (2004): 113–48.
  41. Kadri, Sadakat. Heaven on Earth: A Journey through Shari’a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.Google Scholar
  42. Karsh, Efraim, and Inari Karsh. Empires of the Sand: The Struggle for Mastery in the Middle East, 1789–1923. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  43. Kassis, Hanna E. A Concordance of the Qur’an. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.Google Scholar
  44. Kelsay, John, and James Turner Johnson. Just War and Jihad: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives on War and Peace in Western and Islamic Traditions. New York: Greenwood Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  45. Kennedy, Hugh. The Great Arab Conquests: How the Spread of Islam Changed the World We Live In. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2007.Google Scholar
  46. Kepel, Gilles. “The Origins and Development of the Jihadist Movement: From Anti-Communism to Terrorism.” Asian Affairs 34, no. 2 (2003): 91–108. Scholar
  47. Khadduri, Majid. War and Peace in the Law of Islam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1955.Google Scholar
  48. Khosrokhavar, Farhad. Suicide Bombers: Allah’s New Martyrs. London: Pluto Press, 2005.Google Scholar
  49. Kilcullen, David J. “Countering Global Insurgency.” Journal of Strategic Studies 28, no. 4 (2005): 597–617.
  50. Kolokotronis, Jamilah. Islamic Jihad: An Historical Perspective. Indianapolis: American Trust Publications, 1990.Google Scholar
  51. Korstanje, Maximiliano E. Terrorism, Tourism and the End of Hospitality in the “West.” New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Kostick, Conor. The Siege of Jerusalem: Crusade and Conquest in 1099. New York: Continuum, 2011.Google Scholar
  53. Lahoud, Nelly. “The Neglected Sex: The Jihadis’ Exclusion of Women from Jihad.” Terrorism and Political Violence 26, no. 5 (2014): 780–802. Scholar
  54. ———. Political Thought in Islam: A Study in Intellectual Boundaries. London: Routledge, 2013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Laub, Zachary. The Islamic State. New York: Council on Foreign Relations, 2016.Google Scholar
  56. Leiken, Robert S. “Europe’s Angry Muslims.” Foreign Affairs 84, no. 4 (2005): 120–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Lewis, Bernard. Islam and the West. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  58. ———. The Political Language of Islam. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991.Google Scholar
  59. Li, Darryl. “Jihad in a World of Sovereigns: Law, Violence, and Islam in the Bosnia Crisis.” Law & Social Inquiry 41, no. 2 (2016): 371–401.
  60. McDaniel, Charles. “The Role of Human Security in the Contest between the Egyptian Government and the Muslim Brotherhood, 1980–2010.” In Religion and Human Security: A Global Perspective, edited by James K. Wellman Jr., and Clark B. Lombardi, 48–66. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.Google Scholar
  61. Meri, Josef W. Medieval Islamic Civilization: An Encyclopedia. New York: Routledge, 2005.Google Scholar
  62. Miniter, Richard. Losing Bin Laden: How Bill Clinton’s Failures Unleashed Global Terror. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2003.Google Scholar
  63. Mir, Mustansir. “Jihad in Islam.” In The Jihad and Its Times, edited by Hadia Dajani, Shakeel, and Ronald A. Messier, 113–26. Ann Arbor, MI: Center for Near Eastern and North African Studies, 1991.Google Scholar
  64. Moghadam, Assaf. “The Salafi-Jihad as a Religious Ideology.” CTC Sentinel 1, no. 3 (2008): 1–3.Google Scholar
  65. Moniruzzaman, Monir. “Jihad and Terrorism: An Alternative Explanation.” Journal of Religion & Society 10, no. 1 (2008): 1–13. Google Scholar
  66. Nesser, Petter. “Jihadism in Western Europe after the Invasion of Iraq: Tracing Motivational Influences from the Iraq War on Jihadist Terrorism in Western Europe.” Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 29, no. 4 (2006): 323–42. Scholar
  67. Pelham, Nicolas. “ISIS and the Shia Revival in Iraq.” The New York Times, June 24, 2015, A1.Google Scholar
  68. Peters, Rudolph. Jihad in Classical and Modern Islam: A Reader. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener, 1996.Google Scholar
  69. Peters, Rudolph, and David Cook. The Oxford Encyclopedia of Islam and Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.Google Scholar
  70. Piazza, James A. “Is Islamist Terrorism More Dangerous? An Empirical Study of Group Ideology, Organization, and Goal Structure.” Terrorism and Political Violence 21, no. 1 (2009): 62–88. Scholar
  71. Piscatori, James. Islam in a World of Nation‐States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.Google Scholar
  72. Pratt, Nicola, and Dina Rezk. “Securitizing the Muslim Brotherhood: State Violence and Authoritarianism in Egypt after the Arab Spring.” Security Dialogue 50, no. 3 (2019): 239–56. Scholar
  73. Riedel, Bruce. What We Won: America’s Secret War in Afghanistan, 1979–89. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2017.Google Scholar
  74. Sachedina, Andulaziz A. “The Development of Jihad in Islamic Revelation and History.” In Cross, Crescent and Sword: The Justification and Limitation of War in Western and Islamic Traditions, edited by James Turner Johnson, 167–76. New York: Greenwood, 1990.Google Scholar
  75. Saunders, Robert A. A History of Medieval Islam. New York: Routledge, 2002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. ———. “The Ummah as Nation: A Reappraisal in the Wake of the ‘Cartoons Affair’.” Nations and Nationalism 14, no. 2 (2008): 303–21. Scholar
  77. Schleifer, S. Abdullah. “Jihad: Sacred Struggle in Islam.” Islamic Quarterly 28, no. 3 (1984): 135–49.Google Scholar
  78. ———. “Understanding Jihad: Definition and Methodology.” Islamic Quarterly 27, no. 3 (1983): 117–31.Google Scholar
  79. Sethi, Kabir. “The Allure of the Radical: Understanding Jihadist Violence in the West.” Macalester International 22 (2009): 201–25.Google Scholar
  80. Spencer, Robert. Onward Muslim Soldiers: How Jihad Still Threatens America and the West. Washington, DC: Regnery, 2003.Google Scholar
  81. Streusand, Douglas E. “What Does Jihad Mean?” Middle East Quarterly 4, no. 3 (1997): 9–17.Google Scholar
  82. Van Slooten, Pippi. “Dispelling Myths about Islam and Jihad.” Peace Review 17, no. 2 (2005): 289–90. Scholar
  83. Vlahos, Michael. Terror’s Mask: Insurgency within Islam. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University, 2002.Google Scholar
  84. Weigand, Florian. “Afghanistan’s Taliban: Legitimate Jihadists or Coercive Extremists?” Journal of Intervention and Statebuilding 11, no. 3 (2017): 359–81. Scholar
  85. Wiederhold, Lutz. “Blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad and His Companions (Sabb Al-Rasūl, Sabb Al-Sahābah): The Introduction of the Topic into Shāfi’ī Legal Literature and Its Relevance for Legal Practice under Mamluk Rule.” Journal of Semitic Studies XLII, no. 1 (1997): 39–70. Scholar
  86. Wight, Martin. “An Anatomy of International Thought.” Review of International Studies 13, no. 3 (1987): 221–27. Scholar
  87. Wiktorowicz, Quintan, and John Kaltner. “Killing in the Name of Islam: Al-Qaeda’s Justification for September 11.” Middle East Policy 10, no. 2 (2003): 76–92. Scholar
  88. Wood, Elisabeth. Insurgent Collective Action and Civil War in El Salvador. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Zaidi, Manzar. “A Taxonomy of Jihad.” Arab Studies Quarterly 31, no. 3 (2009): 21–34.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan Matusitz
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

Personalised recommendations