The third difference regarding which you have requested of me is that between the Deobandis and Barelwis, and you wanted to know which of these two are treading the path of Haqq.
To me the phrase “Deobandi-Barelwi difference” is surprising and odd. You have already heard that the difference between the Sunnis and Shiahs stemmed from the acceptance (of the one group) and rejection (by the other) of the Sahaabah-e-Kiraam (radhiAllaahu anhum) and that the difference between the Hanafis and Wahaabis originated from the following or not of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahiddeen. However, according to my knowledge there is no sound basis for any difference between the Deobandis and Barelwis. The reason being that both these groups are passionate followers of the Hanafi Math-hab. In so far as Aqaa`id both these groups accept and follow the teachings of Imaam Abul Hasan Ash`ari and Imaam Abu Mansoor Maaturidi (rahmatullahi alaihima). Both these groups accept and take ba`it to all four Silsilahs of Tasawwuf, viz. Qaadiri, Chisti, Saharwardi and Naqshbandi.
In short, both these groups are in all respects followers of the Ahle Sunnah Wal Jamaat. They also acknowledge to and accept the reverence of the Sahaabah, Tabieen and Aimmah-e-Mujtahiddeen. They are Muqallids of Hadhrat Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih) and accept the authority right up to Mujaddid Alfe Thaani and Shah Abdul Azeez Muhaddith Dehlwi (rahmatullahi alaihima). They all also accept that being subservient to the Auliyaa of Allaah Ta`ala is the means of salvation in both the worlds. Therefore, in my opinion there is no real and genuine basis for any differences between theses two groups.
I do not refute the contention that there exists between these two groups some differences in a few Masaa`il. I will hereunder present the authentic Shar`i view in the light of the Qur`aan Majeed, Sunnah and Hanafi Fiqh of the Masaa`il wherein they differ, without making reference to any one of the two groups in particular.
Between these two groups there exist the following differences:
(1). Was Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) Noor (celestial light) or a human being?
(2). Was Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) knower of the unseen or not?
(3). Is our Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) all-seeing (haazir-o-naazir) or not?
(4). Has Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) complete choice and control or not? That is, has Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam) total control and choice in the workings of this universe or is this the sole responsibility of Allaah Ta`ala?
With regard to these Masaa`il, that group is on Haqq whose beliefs are in conformity with the Qur`aan Majeed, Sunnah of Nabi (sallAllaahu alaihi wasallam), practices of the Sahaabah (radhiAllaahu anhum) and the Fiqh of Imaam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alaih). The other group is in error. Now, very briefly, I will outline the differences between these two groups.