Up until the first half of the 20th century the riqq was almost exclusively the sole percussion instrument used in Arabic classical and art-music ensembles in Egypt and the Levant. (In nothwest African music they use another smaller tambourine, which has a different style of playing, called a tar.)
The riqq has always been highly valued for it's unique timbre, and its complex, and stunning variety of sound, as well as for the virtuosity demanded of it's performers. Though, sadly, because of the introduction of the darbuka (an instrument formerly restricted to traditional, and folkloric music) over the last 60 years in classical and art-music ensembles, the riqq has been relegated to a minor and less respected role and there are now very few true virtuosos of the traditional instrument left in the Arab world.
Besides the traditional instruments, there are now, of course, adjustable skin riqqs, and many plastic headed riqqs. I have found REMO's Layne Redmond fiberskin riqq, Eckermann riqqs, or Cooperman riqqs (with fish skin or REMO's Weatherking head) to be the best sounding for the price. As for mylar headed riqqs, (which I personally prefer not to use because their sound is so flat, harsh and lacks the rounded warmth and timber of traditional wood bodied, fish skin riqqs) I can only recommend Kavork riqqs that are fully wood-bodied (not metal framed and only wood edged, though the beauty and simplicity of the instruments is so seductive). And, please, make sure you can adjust and play the instrument yourself before putting down $400.00+. This advice comes from my own experience, as several years ago I bought a gorgeous Kavork riqq with a metal frame without giving it a thorough adjustment and test when purchased, and was terribly disappointed with the sound ever after (I had thought I could fix it with tape and other fixes but it never sounded any better than a very nice tin can whatever I did.) That was a VERY expensive mistake. So be careful when you buy, and use your ears to choose the best sounding instrument for you, your needs, and your pocketbook. (See the links for makers web sites and the video page for a comparison of different riqqs from Percussion.net)
Ensemble Al Kindi with Master of the riqq, Adel Shams El Din (right).