Jihad is an Arabic word which derives from the three-letter root j-h-d, and means "to exert oneself" or "to strive." Other meanings include endeavor, strain, effort, diligence, struggle. Usually understood in terms of personal betterment, jihad may also mean fighting to defend one's (or another's) life, property, and faith. Because jihad is a highly nuanced concept, it should not be understood to mean "holy war," a common misrepresentation.


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