Jihad is an Arabic word meaning "to struggle". Muslims (believers in Islam) use this word to talk about defending the faith and protecting their family and nation, as well as defending innocent people. It can also mean fighting with yourself to become a better person. The word jihad appears frequently in the Quran with and without military connotations, often in the idiomatic expression "striving in the path of God conveying a sense of self-exertion. They developed an elaborate set of rules pertaining to jihad, including prohibitions on harming those who are not engaged in combat. In the modern era, the notion of jihad has lost its jurisprudence relevance and instead given rise to an ideological and political discourse.
It is an official part of Shia Islam, but it is not an official part of Sunni Islam, though some call it the sixth pillar of Islam. In some cases, there have been 'Jihads' that have self immolated themselves, in order to get into heaven. There are suicide bombers, who blow themselves up, because they think that it is right and that they are cleaning the world's filth. This is, however, wrong in Islam. It is a major sin to commit suicide or homicide. Killing another human being in Islam is the equivalent of killing all of humanity. On the contrary, saving another human being's life is the equivalent of saving all of humanity.
The sense of jihad as armed resistance was first used in the context of persecution faced by Muslims, as when Muhammad was at Mecca, when the community had two choices: emigration (hijra) or jihad. In Twelver Shia Islam, jihad is one of the ten Practices of the Religion. A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid (plural: mujahideen). The term jihad is often rendered in English as "Holy War", although this translation is controversial. Today, the word jihad is often used without religious connotations, like the English crusade.