Jihad (‘struggle’, ‘striving’) in the Qur’an and Sunnah is a term with multiple infl ections. The reiterated Qur’anic phrase al-jihad fisabil Allah (‘striving in the path of God’) allows for that striving to be accomplished in myriad ways. After surveying a range of exegeses of relevant Qur’anic verses and early hadith works, the paper shows how fully Fethullah Gülen‘s emphasis on jihad as a means of personal, moral, spiritual and social renewal and transformation is in line with the earliest meanings found in exegetical and hadith works. Such a traditional, historical understanding runs counter to recent, polemical assertions that jihad is a monovalent term requiring unremitting armed combat against non-Muslims. The paper demonstrates that contemporary Muslim thinkers like Gülen, who offer a more expansive and multi-facet-ed reading of what it means to ‘strive in the path of God’, are harking back to earlier, and thus more historically authentic, understandings of jihad and its moral purview.