Thousands of devout muslims have gathered at Mount Arafat outside Mecca to mark the last official day of the hajj. This year’s pilgrimage has had its problems: the heaviest rains in years led to the deaths of at least 48 people, swept away in the floods. And, there has been the persistent fear of swine flu. Defying strict religious code, many pilgrims wore masks.The hajj is the world’s largest religious gathering, attracting believers from all over the world. It is a religious duty for all muslims at least once in their lifetime. The hajj is followed by the festival of Eid al-Adha, as muslims re-affirm their obedience to God.