The following has been written by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam al-Kawthari:
What is written below is how it should be and how those affiliated to Dar al-Uloom Deoband should take things, but unfortunately – like in every area – people distort the reality with their actions and behaviour:
The media seems to have an obsession with “Deobandi” Muslims or “Deobandi Islam.” This really needs addressing. To clarify, Deobandiyya is not a sect, group or brand of Islam; rather, it merely refers to an Islamic seminary (Dar al-Ulum) located in Deoband (India) from where thousands of people graduated as scholars, and then taught ‘traditional’ Islam and opened other seminaries. As such, it is more of an academic affiliation – like the term Azhari for those connected to Azhar in Cairo – than a strictly theological one. Those who have studied and graduated from the seminaries (madrasas) affiliated to Deoband know too well that the various scholars disagree on many issues within themselves. There is no one position or view considered as the ‘official’ position of the school. Students follow the teachings of their teachers and sometimes also disagree with them. This is the beauty of the academic nature of this great merciful religion given to us by Allah Most High. Wallahu a’lam.