Sheikh Riyadh is a third generation South African. His great grandfather came to South Africa during the Boer War as an officer in the British army. Sheikh Riyadh embraced Islam in 1991 in Cape Town. From 1995 to 2003 he journeyed in search of Islamic knowledge to many parts of the Muslim world. Some of the places where he spent time were Morocco, Medina, Yemen, Somalia and Syria. He is currently doing his masters in Arabic at UWC and is the resident Imam of Masjid Al-Jaami in Stegman Rd, Claremont. He also runs the Imam Suyuti Institute at Al-Jaami.
Surah 65 - At-Talaq, Verses 2-3
And whosoever has taqwa, Allah will make a way out for them, and will sustain them from where they cannot account. And whosoever places their trust in Allah He (Allah) is sufficient for them.
The scholars of Islam say that if the entire Qur’an had not been revealed except for this verse it would have been enough for the ummah of Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam).
When I left South Africa for the first time in 1995 to study in Fez, Morocco, I stepped out of our little servants quarters that my family and I were renting in Cravenby and I recited:
Bismillaah, aamantoe billaah, wa tawakkaltoe allallaah wa laa howla wa quwwata illaa billaah
In the name of Allah, I believe in Allah, I put my trust in Allah and there is no power or might except that which cometh from Allah.
It was the first time that I had ever ventured out of my own country, not knowing what was awaiting me, not knowing anyone from the country of my destination, not having much money, not even having applied at the university where I wanted to study. But through the barakah of this duah and the reality of this verse Allah opened the doors for me and literally sustained from where I couldn’t have imagined.
Certainly there were trials and tribulations but that is the beauty of the verse, that no matter what difficulty one finds oneself in, if we could just have taqwa, Allah will certainly make a way out for us. But what is taqwa? Sayyidinaa Ali was once asked : “What is taqwa?” He said : “to fear Allah, to implement the revelation , to be satisfied with a little and to prepare for our meeting with our Lord.”
From receiving a thousand dirhams from a stranger on the day that I ran out of money to meeting a blind man who gave me shelter in his home … from Morocco to Madina , Yemen to Somalia and Syria, I have truly come to understand the saying of our beloved prophet Muhammad (salallaahu alaihi wa sallam) when he said: "if we truly had to put our trust in Allah then He would sustain us like He sustains a bird, it leaves its home in the morning with an empty stomach and returns in the evening with a full one."
This inspirational verse led me to write the following lines of poetry:
Time is like a raindrop, no way for its return
Although we make mistakes, it’s the only way we learn
Sometimes my mind is like a storm, filled with much confusion
As if being oppressed from within myself, or is it just an illusion
Peace of heart and peace of mind, I search for everyday
As I walk down the road of life, I ask my Lord to ease my way
Allah is One, there is none save He
In Him do I trust, and that trust is sufficient for me.
May Allahu ta aala make us all of the muttaqeen (those who are mindful of Him) and of the mutawakkileen (those who put their trust in Him) Ameen, and our final prayer is - all praise and thanks is due solely to Allah.