Shaykh Riad studied political science and law in Canada, and is a lawyer by profession. For many years, he was the Executive Director of a national Canadian Muslim advocacy organization, and has worked in the fields of media, human rights and politics. He has written extensively in newspapers across Canada on a variety of religious, social and political issues.
He then traveled to Cape Town, South Africa, and studied the Islamic sciences at Dar al-‘Ulum al-‘Arabiyya al-Islamiyya (DUAI), a well-known Islamic seminary of higher learning, under the auspices of the late Shaykh Taha Karan (may Allah envelope him in His Loving-mercy).
After graduation, he taught a variety of subjects at the seminary, including Islamic legal theory (usul al-fiqh), the higher objectives of the law (maqasid al-shari‘a), law (fiqh), Prophetic traditions (hadith), and theology (‘aqida). He has also translated a number of Arabic works into English.
His teachers include Shaykh Muhammad Emin Er (may Allah envelope him in His Loving-mercy), Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui, and Shaykh Taha Karaan (may Allah envelope him in His Loving-mercy).