Defense and vengeance on behalf of their Muslim brethren – would have been noble, were it not contrary to what Islam and jihad are really about – that is, it places greater focus on peace and self-improvement than on armed conflict. Thus, this paper’s content will delve into the Islamic faith, specifically, the concept of jihad, both as most understand it, and as of how it is really defined. More importantly, it is intended to serve as a look into al-Qaeda’s mindset – how and why they use the tenets of their faith to justify their acts of terrorism – and explain why such terrorism cannot truly be considered Islamic, let alone acts of jihad.For starters, the root word for jihadis ‘jahada’ – one’s utmost exertion of power, efforts, endeavors, and ability when contending with something one disapproves of. It can be applied to most if not all aspects of daily life on varying levels and is almost always done with the goal of personal improvement in mind. In particular, the greater, inner jihad entails struggling against one’s inclination to do evil.In contrast, the lesser, outer jihad entails conversion of non-believers, defense against evil, and actively opposing and fighting it, whether physically or otherwise. Regardless of what most of us think, it is not synonymous with taking up arms, although it does involve such when necessary – and only when done in Allah’s name. As a matter of fact, the same site affirms that Islam outright commands war and conflict, especially when overthrowing injustice, tyranny, and oppression, and when striking back against someone who has done you wrong.