In popular and academic literature, jihad is predominantly assumed to refer to armed combat, and Muslim martyrdom is understood to be invariably of the military kind. This perspective, derived mainly from legal texts, has led to discussions of jihad and martyrdom primarily as concepts with fixed, universal meanings divorced from the socio-political circumstances in which they have been deployed through time. This book, however, studies in a more holistic manner the range of significations that can be ascribed to the term jihad from the earliest period to the contemporary period against the backdrop of specific historical and political circumstances that frequently mediated the meanings of this critical term. Instead of privileging the juridical literature, the book canvasses a more diverse array of texts - Qur'an, tafsir, hadath, edifying and hortatory literature - to recuperate a more nuanced and multifaceted understanding of both jihad and martyrdom through time. As a result, many conventional and monochromatic assumptions about the military jihad and martyrdom are challenged and undermined. Asma Afsaruddin argues that the notion of jihad as primarily referring to armed combat is in fact relatively late. A comprehensive interrogation of varied sources, she shows, reveals early and multiple competing definitions of a word that translates literally to "striving on the path of God."