- Meaning “On the path of God,” jihad is a Muslim doctrine of struggle against unbelievers for the protection or expansion of the realm of Islam. For a believer engaged in jihad sins are remitted, whereas death encountered on God’s path secures immediate admittance to paradise. The first jihad was led by the Prophet Muhammad in the seventh century and was integral to the unification of the Beduin tribes of the Arabian Peninsula into an Arab nation. In the nineteenth century, jihadist activity was usually defensive or insurgent in nature, such as in that of Janangir against the Qing Dynasty in Turkmenistan in 1821; the serial jihads of Abd-al-Qādir against French control of Algeria starting in the 1830s; and the Sudanese Mahdi of Dongola’s campaign against the British Empire climaxing in the capture of Khartoum and the collapse of William Gladstone ’s government in 1885.FURTHER READING:Johnson, James T., and John Kelsey. Cross, Crescent and Sword. New York: Greenwood, 1990;Peters, Rudolph. Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine of Jihad in Modern History. The Hague: Mouton, 1979.CARL CAVANAGH HODGE
Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.