Ijtihad (Arabic: اجتهاد) refers to the process of scholarly interpretation of legal and doctrinal texts.
Over the ages, Shi'ite jurists have disagreed about the exact definition of ijtihad. Linguistically, ijtihad is derived from the word juhd (الجهد), meaning to struggle or strive. Ijtihad means to expend one's effort in some kind of work, and is normally only applied to work that has some degree of difficulty. Amongst religious scholars, it refers to some kind of effort to derive Islamic rulings, whether that be based upon canonical sources, or as an independent source in and of itself. Because of the confusion surrounding this term, one finds very different opinions of scholars concerning the permissibility and scope of ijtihad.