The word jihad originates from the Arabic word meaning struggle. Its use in the English language relates entirely to the fight of Muslims against those who do not believe.
This in underlined by the initial uses in English of the jihad. In the 1870s, the first references are published in military history about India in the 1870s. It first appears in the 1869 second edition of the Historical Sketches of the South of India by Mark Wilks who had long since died. It refers to “projects of Jehad” and provides the relevant translation “holy war”. There is no record why this sentence was not in the first edition which has come out in 1817. A History of the Sepoy War in India in 1875 by the historian John Kay uses the phase “to collect money and preach the Moslem jihad” and in 1880 a General Roberts refers to the mullahs who “have been preaching a jihad or holy war”.
Almost exactly at this time, the word was used in the sense of a war against non-religious enemies. In the 1880s these included political doctrines, the government, even deer.
According to Google Books, the use of the word jihad moved from zero in the 1870 increasingly steadily to 1998. After this date the deployment of the jihad and its use in English exploded. The use of Jihad as a word in books increased by a factor of four in only four years. According to Google Trends it peaked in 2004. Even so, it is currently omnipresent in the media as a word. It word appears in almost every news bulletin – a Jihad spokesman, the jihad cause, the call to jihad are just of few of the BBC News features over the last three days.