In making a contribution to the debate on multiple modernities, this article addresses the growing fragmentation of contemporary interpretations of Islamic religious traditions. It argues that the polysemic nature of these interpretations mirrors to a certain extent the increasing functional differentiation of modern society. To substantiate this argument, the paper will first present a theoretical framework of global modernity that selectively draws on theories of multiple modernities, Modern Systems Theory, and of (post-)structuralist thinking. The empirical part of the paper takes the case of the Islamic institution of Jihad as its illustrative example. From a genealogical perspective, it analyses a number of steps of the (re-)interpretation of Islamic religious traditions from the classical period of pre-modern Islamic empires, via the Islamic reform movement of the nineteenth century, to the multiple voices of Islamic modernities in contemporary times.