Among the Sufi orders that took root and grew in the Sub-Indian Continent was the Qalandariyya order which belongs to Qalandar Yusuf al-Andalusi, one of the Sufis of Andalusia.
Al-Andalusi immigrated to the Levant in the 7th century. His order was brought to India by Sheikh Qutb al-Din al-Amuri al-Junbouri who died in 1586.
Qalandariyya first appeared in Damascus in 1213 and had a Mosque in Aleppo. The mosque which was established near Dowar Aguirre was called Baba Bayram Tekyeh. In Damascus, the order’s mosque was called Darkiniaa Qalandariyya or Qalandar Khana.
The followers of Qalandariyya shave their heads, beards, mustaches, and even eyebrows. This sect was influenced by the principles of Malamatiyya Sufism, which is why most researchers are confused between them.
Malamatiyya is the order of Hamdoun al-Kassar who died in 884. It is based on self-blame. The difference between Malamatiyya and Qalandariyya is that the followers of Malamatiyya practice their faith in secret, while Qalandariyya is based on asceticism, and austerity. The followers of the last order shave their heads and consider humility the basis of their worship.
Qalandariyya puts stress on staying away from acquiring properties. The order’s followers never think of or worry about the future. They do not bathe and do not consider their appearances a priority. Their clothes are colorful, but are always made of rough fabrics.
Qalandariyya maintains good relations with all other Sufi orders. It also has good relations with Sunnis, Shiites and the followers of other Islamic schools.
Qalandariyya followers do not either pray or fast during the Muslim month of Ramadan. They drop many of the rites considered obligatory in the Islamic religion. They employ a large number of tricks to beg money.
Most rulers persecuted the followers of Qalandariyya. Hulagu Khan, who ruled most of southwest Asia, killed millions of Qalandariyya followers between 1217 and 1265. Hulagu used to call Qalandariyya followers the “world’s rubbish”.
Arandaliy appears in Egypt
Qalandariyya was brought to Damietta in the Nile Delta by Sheikh Jamal al-Din al-Sawy who died in 1070 with support from al-Malik al-Ẓahir Rukn al-Din Baybars al-Bunduqdari, the fourth Mamluk sultan of Egypt and the Levant (1260-1277). Baybars favored the followers of this order for political and religious reasons at a time of great economic weaknesses, following two great wars against the Crusaders and the Tatars.
The Egyptians did like this order, knowing the political reasons behind its emergence in their country. The order did not live long, especially after Mamluk Sultan al-Nasir Muhammad ibn Qalawun took over. Ibn Qalawun prevented the followers of the order from practice their rites. He also prevented them from shaving their beards, their mustaches and eyebrows.
While this order is nowhere to found on Egypt’s streets, its symbolism still lingers until today. Ordinary Egyptians continue to call each scoundrel and swindler “Arandaliy”, a term the Egyptians coined out in mockery of the order.