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Q: Religion, Islam ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   6 Comments )
Subject: Religion, Islam
Category: Relationships and Society > Religion
Asked by: tmonkey-ga
List Price: $2.00
Posted: 14 Oct 2002 21:46 PDT
Expires: 13 Nov 2002 20:46 PST
Question ID: 76680
What is the significance of the alternate spelling of Jihad as "Gihad"?
Subject: Re: Religion, Islam
Answered By: angy-ga on 15 Oct 2002 00:09 PDT
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
According to the Chambers Dictionary, the word is from the Arabic.

"jihad or jehad noun a holy war, against infidels, fought by Muslims
on behalf of Islam.
ETYMOLOGY: 19c: Arabic, meaning 'struggle'."

It would, therefore, have originally been written in the cursive
Arabic script, not in the Roman Alphabet which we use.

The alternative between a "j" or a soft "g" (the same sound as in
"joy" and "George") is most likely a tranliteration decision, with the
"j" becoming more generally accepted.

For some interesting information on Arabic cursive script as used in
the Koran, go to:

Search terms:

"Arabic Script"
tmonkey-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
Obviously, I knew what Jihad meant. That wasn't the question. I wanted
to know about the significance of the alternate spelling. I thought
there might be some regional linguistic feature that might lead to its
alternate transliteration.

Subject: Re: Religion, Islam
From: mvguy-ga on 15 Oct 2002 07:04 PDT
Just to add to the fine answer given above, it is very common for
non-Roman-alphabet words that are imported to English to be spelled in
various ways depending on how they're transliterated.  For another
example, Hannukah and Chanukah are both the same Hebrew word.
Subject: Re: Religion, Islam
From: liondecent-ga on 15 Oct 2002 07:37 PDT
With due respect to all the cultures and races, Egyptians prefer to
pronounce j-sounds in Arabic with the sound of g (like gallon). For
example, they will pronounce Hajj (pilgrimage) as Hug. No offence to
any particular race or country, but this is what I have learnt, though
I could be wrong. So I will not be surprised if they pronounce Jihad
had Gihad, probably without changing any meaning.
Subject: Re: Religion, Islam
From: tmonkey-ga on 15 Oct 2002 08:10 PDT
Thank you all for your contributions. Much appreciated and very
illuminating. liondecent's observations were exactly what I was hoping
to find. Cheers!
Subject: Re: Religion, Islam
From: angy-ga on 16 Oct 2002 19:49 PDT
Re: liondecent's interesting comment, apparently it depends which
dialect of Egyptian Arabic you are speaking, as there are regional
Subject: Re: Religion, Islam
From: theboy-ga on 31 Oct 2002 14:10 PST
Gihad is the Egyptian Arabic. Jihad the none Egyptian Arabic (e,g
Saudi- Iraqi, etc) :

Egyptian although Arabs now can not pronounce many arabic words with a
"J" sound like other arabs.For(J) as the sound in (Jamaica)they say
something which sounds more like G (as in Gama) instead. 2 very famous
examples are:
1). Shajar =tree in  Saudi Arabic, which is pronounced Shagar in

2). Jamal Abdulnassir (who was a ruler in Egypt) and called Gamal in
Egypt but Jamal in all other Arabic countries.

Remember they are written exactly the same way in all Arabic countries
but pronounce differently. (Like the way Paris is pronounced something
like Paqeee in France an PARIS in England)

This thing with Egypt is because Egypt was not originally an Arabic
speaking country, Arabic became their language AFTER they were invaded
by Moslems, before that they had their own language which had some
sounds more and some less than the 28 Arabic alphabet.
Subject: Re: Religion, Islam
From: rjeong-ga on 15 Aug 2004 12:31 PDT
A quick note on the meaning of jihad or gihad.  Although this was not
the orignal question, I would like to add comment mis-use and
mis-definition of the word given that it seems it may be relevant to
the question

As can be noted from the above "define:jihad" search in google, you
get several definitions which do not define this as meaning only "holy
war."  It means " to struggle or exert oneself to his or her utmost

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