Saif al-Adel ( سيف العدل ; also spelled Sayf al-`Adl, Seif al-Adil), often called the thirdranking
official of al-Qa’ida, is a man about whom there is extremely little that is known
with certainty. His date of birth is April 11, 1960 or April 11, 1963. Since the identity
behind his nom de guerre is unknown, it is impossible to say anything about his family or
childhood. There is some indication that he did not have a traditional Islamic education,
or if he did that it was not very extensive; in his 2005 memoir about Abu Mus`ab al-
Zarqawi, Saif writes that he is partly using an abundance of free time to memorize the
Qur’an, a task to which primary Islamic education is almost exclusively devoted. In the
same memoir, Saif writes that “God guided me to comprehend pure Islam in the early
1980s,” an indication that his turn to radical Islamism occurred in his early twenties.

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