The book was commissioned by Akbar, and written by Abul Fazl, one of the Nine Jewels (Hindi: Navaratnas) of Akbar’s royal court. It is stated that the book took seven years to be completed and the original manuscripts contained a number of paintings supporting the texts, and all the paintings represented the Mughal school of painting.
Besides recording Akbar’s life and reign, the Akbarnāma also includes many descriptions of the social order of India. Both Abu’l Fazl and Akbar had very tolerant religious ideas, and Fazl used his writing to show Hinduism in a good light to the Muslims of the Mughal ruling class.
The third volume named and details the administrative system of the Empire as well as containing the famous "Account of the Hindu Sciences". Here Abu'l Fazl's ambition, in his own words, is: "It has long been the ambitious desire of my heart to pass in review to some extent, the general conditions of this vast country, and to record the opinions professed by the majority of the learned among the Hindus. I know not whether the love of my native land has been the attracting influence or exactness of historical research and genuine truthfulness of narrative..." (Ā’in-i-Akbarī, translated by Helen Blochmann, Volume III, pp 7). In this section, he expounds the major beliefs of not the six major Hindu philosophical schools of thought, and those of the Jains, Buddhists, and Nāstikas. He also gives several Indian accounts of geography, cosmography, and some tidbits on Indian aesthetic thought. Most of this information is derived from Sanskrit texts and knowledge systems. Abu'l Fazl admits that he did not know Sanskrit and it is thought that he accessed this information through intermediaries, likely Jains who were favoured at Akbar's court.
In his description of Hinduism, Abu’l Fazl tries to relate everything back to something that the Muslims could understand. Many of the orthodox Muslims thought that the Hindus were guilty of two of the greatest sins, polytheism and idolatry.
While trying to rebut the charge of polytheism, Abu’l Fazl writes “Brama… they hold to be the Creator; Vishnu, the Nourisher and Preserver; and Rudra, called also Mahadeva, the Destroyer. Some maintain that God who is without equal, manifested himself under these three divine forms, without thereby sullying the garment of his inviolate sanctity, as the Nazarenes hold of the Messiah.”
On the topic of idolatry, Abu’l Fazl says that the symbols and images that the Hindus carry are not idols, but merely are there to keep their minds from wandering. He writes that only serving and worshipping God is required.
Abul Fazl also describes the Caste system to his readers. He writes the name, rank, and duties of each caste. He then goes on to describe the sixteen subclasses which come from intermarriage among the main four.
Abu’l Fazl next writes about Karma about which he writes, “This is a system of knowledge of an amazing and extraordinary character, in which the learned of Hindustan concur without dissenting opinion.” He places the actions and what event they bring about in the next life into four different kinds. First, he writes many of the different ways in which a person from one class can be born into a different class in the next life and some of the ways in which a change in gender can be brought about. He classifies the second kind as the different diseases and sicknesses one suffers from. The third kind is actions which cause a woman to be barren, or the death of a child. And the fourth kind deals with money and generosity, or lack thereof.