Shaykh Habib-Allah Ibn ‘Ata al-Sijistani writes:


Deobandi is a term used for anyone who is connected to Deoband, either due its being his home, by his having studied there, or by it being his maslak (school of thought). It has come to my knowledge that Mufti Muhammad Shafi’, the author of Ma’arif al-Qur’an, may Allah shower His mercy upon him, would say, ‘I am Deobandi in three ways. I was born in Deoband, I graduated from Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, and my maslak is that of the scholars of Deoband.’


“So according to this, it is possible that someone may not be a resident of Deoband, and may not have studied at Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, but is still called a Deobandi. This is because his maslak is that of the Ahl al-Sunnah Wa ‘l-Jama’ah Hanafi scholars of Deoband, who uprooted the forts of shirk and innovation from the Indian Sub-Continent and other places.’’


Al-Deobandiyyah: Ta’rifuha Wa Khidmatuha, 1st Edition (Faysal Printers, p. 31)