Muharram Mubaarak! It is the first month of the Hijri Calendar fixed by Caliph Umar and its first day should not be treated like “New Year’s Day” – a pagan celebration adopted by Western civilization. This month is one of the four sacred months in which we are encouraged to make an extra spiritual effort to attain righteousness. According the Prophet (pbuh) it is the best month for fasting after Ramadaan and fasting on the 10th of this month (Aashooraa) is expiation for the sins of the previous year! So, let us apply the lessons learned from the life of the Prophet (pbuh) and increase our efforts to spread the true religion of God, while keeping alive the Ramadaan lesson of making fasting truly a way of life by also fasting Mondays and Thursdays of every week, and the 13th, 14th & 15th – according to the recommendations of the Prophet (pbuh). Fasting the first 10 days is bid’ah if one takes it as a repeated customary annual ritual (matching the Hindu celebration called Ram Lila), and so are parades with models of Husain’s tomb on the 10th.