One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The exercising of discretionary judgement (traditionally by a mujtahid) in order to deduce a law or rule of conduct which is not self-evident in the scriptural sources; the right to exercise this judgement (sometimes figuratively described as a gate, either closed or open depending on whether such a right is thought to exist).
Early 19th century. From Arabic ijtihād, lit. ‘struggle, effort’ from ijtahada.
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