Firishta was born at Astrabad, on the shores of the Caspian Sea. While he was still a child his father was summoned away from his native country into Hindustan, where he held high office in the Deccan region of the country; by his influence the young Firishta received court promotion.
In 1589 Firishta moved to Bijapur, where he spent the remainder of his life under the immediate protection of the Shah Ibrahim Adil II, who engaged him to write a history of India, variously known as the Tarikh-i Firishta and the Gulshan-i Ibrahim. In the introduction to his work, a resume is given of the history of Hindustan prior to the times of the Muslim conquest, and also of the victorious progress of the Arabs through the East. The first ten books are each occupied with a history of the kings of one of the provinces; the eleventh book gives an account of the Muslims of Malabar; the twelfth a history of the Muslim saints of India; and the conclusion treats of the geography and climate of India.
According to the scholar T.N. Devare, Firishta's account is the most widely quoted history of the Adil Shahi, but it is the only source for a fabricated story asserting the Ottoman origin of Yusuf Adil Shah, the founder of the Adil Shahi dynasty (Devare 67 fn2, 272). Other sources for Deccani history mentioned by Devare are those of Mir Rafi-uddin Ibrahim-i Shirazi, or "Rafi'", Mir Ibrahim Lari-e Asadkhani, and Ibrahim Zubayri, the author of the Basatin as-Salatin (67, fn 2). Devare observed that the work is "a general history of India from the earliest period up to Firishta's time written at the behest of Ibrahim Adilshah II and presented to him in 1015 AH/1606 CE. It seems however that it was supplemented by the author himself as it records events up to AH 1033 (1626 CE)" (Devare 272).
Despite his fabricated story of Yusuf's Ottoman origin, Firishta's account continues to be a very popular story and has found wide acceptance in Bijapur today. Nevertheless, Firishta's work still maintains a high place and is considered reliable in many respects. Several portions of it have been translated into English; but the best as well as the most complete translation is that published by General J. Briggs under the title of The History of the Rise of the Mahometan Power in India (London, 1829, 4 vols. 8vo). Several additions were made by Briggs to the original work of Firishta, but he omitted the whole of the twelfth book, and various other passages which had been omitted in the copy from which he translated.