After engaging in a few early debates with Hindu scholars, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad advertised this book as his magnum opus in April 1879.
In April 1879, Mirza's initial advertisement, he says that he has written the book, and a challenge advertisement will accompany the book.
He continues in the ad: I wrote one volume of 15 juz (folded sheets, with one juz = 16 pages), that is 240 pages, but in order to accommodate all issues, I had to write 9 more volumes, so the book is now a total of 150 juz or 2400 pages. If 1000 copies of each volume are printed, it costs 94 rupees per volume, for a total printing cost of no less than 940 rupees for all 10 volumes.
He asks for donations to print the already written book, saying "cooperate in the cost of its printing . . . otherwise this bright sun will remain hidden. Send 5 rupees each with your requests and I will send each volume as it is printed." So, 5 x 1000 = 5,000 rupees, which is more than 500% profit.
Between April and December, he advertises again and mentions that a 10 rupee note has been received from the court of the Nawab of Hyderabad (included in 11 advance payments below).
In December 1879, Mirza says that the price should be 20 rupees per set due to the quality of the paper and binding, but the new price is 10 rupees for each set.
11 people have sent advances and one person has agreed to donate even more.
The whole book (set of 10 volumes) will start printing and publishing in January and February of 1880.
He jacks up the price to 25 rupees now, and Volume 1 is printed, which is the advertisement of the challenge itself. He had said earlier that the advertisement would accompany the book. The ad is printed in a very large font, taking up 82 pages and is a pathetic attempt to say that the book is being published.
The Arya Samaj, at whom the book was directed, started to make fun and smell a scam. Addressing them in the preface to Volume 2, he says ". . . be patient, and when some part of the Sections (4 'fasl' promised) of the book is printed, then they can put as much effort as they want . . . ". He is admitting that Volume 1 is not part of the promised content of the book.
Mirza reduced price to original 10 rupees for Muslims and kept it up to 25 rupees for non-Muslims because he had sent out 8,000+ letters in English all over India asking them to buy the book so he dis some basic calculations on how more money could be made off non-Muslims. Why could the money used to print and send these letters not be used to print the book already written?
He states in Volume 2 that he has written 300 proofs (all about the Quran) and that Muslims are not helping him print the book. He estimates the printing cost at 9,000 rupees.
He writes: "many people have offered to buy the book after it is completely printed, but they should understand that I am not in some kind of business and the real help is needed in printing.
In Volume 3, he starts Section 1 (out of 4 promised), which are the proofs of the Quran.
After only 6 pages, while he is still writing about what he is going to write about, he launches into a footnote - Footnote 11 - which will take up 95% of the rest of the volumes. Footnote 11, spread over hundreds of pages, is only a justification for his receiving revelations and then a litany of his own revelations that are based on the notebook that he kept by his pillow, and it contains nothing of the proofs of the Quran.
The few lines other than Footnote 11 are part of the preface to Section 1 (Fasl 1).
He says that he has stopped writing the names of donors in Volume 3, and may include them in Volume 4. This shows that he has collected enough money, otherwise he has always included a full list.
Mirza writes that the book's real price is 100 rupees, as the already written matter has reached 300 juz (4800 pages, or 20 volumes) but he is only charging 25 and 10 rupees.
And then he says that the 2-year delay is surprising to some, but that it was entirely due to the difficulties of the printer - Safeer-i-Hind press.
At the end of Volume 3, he says that he is not surprised that people have started to doubt him, but he claims that the press was closed for business due to the illness and problems of the printer.
Mirza writes that this volume only contains 'tamheedi' (preface and premise notes) which are necessary to understand the real book, which is all written but cannot be published due to lack of funds.
This volume is printed in Riaz Hind Press, probably because Safeer Hind Press could not extend more credit to Mirza. In the last volume, he had said that he will stick with Safeer Hind.
Mirza knew that a footnote does not span volumes, that is why he said Volume 3 was incomplete as Footnote 11 continues into Volume 4 and there is no change in topic.
Volume 4 begins on page 279 and there is a topic list. It does not make sense, and as we will show later, is wildly inaccurate:
1 is the whole volume, first page to last page and footnote.
2 is actually a small reference in footnote 11 and is inaccurate
7 cannot be found or there is a tiny reference in footnotes
11 is a response to a Christian priest's question in a newspaper
3,4,5,6,8 and 9 overlap
So, with even a cursory perusal of the book and analyzing these contents, it is apparent that Volume 4 has ZERO of the 300 proofs and is composed of:
With no intention of discontinuation, Mirza announces that he is a Reformer and like Jesus and that 37 out of 300 juz (four volumes) of the book are printed. By this time, he is getting criticism from Pandit Lekhram and others, as his book was directed at Arya Samaj, according to Mirza himself. and that he has written as follows -
Here the fraud is evident. Since volumes 3 and 4 are full of self-promotion (5), he has mentioned 1-4 as having been written so that he places his own self-promotion after what he had promised and then in the right order, after the Prophet Muhammad and the Quran.
Eventually 1-4 did not materialize and were never written.
No part of the actual promised book was ever printed, although the complete set was still being sold as late as 1893.
Many of the original purchasers kept clamoring for refunds. Finally, in 1905, the author proposed a refund mechanism whereby people could return the original volumes for a refund.
In the introduction to the first edition of the book, the author says that the book will exceed 100 juz (1600 pages) and will ultimately end up being much more due to footnotes. (Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya, Volume 1, page 2)
On page 4, he says that half the book would have been published by now had it not been for the illness of the printer.
In volumes 2 and 3, he repeatedly refers to the 300 arguments in the book in the past tense, as if they have been written.
In 1882 (volume 3), he says that the book has not been published yet due to the private problems of the printer (page 135).
On page 136 (volume 3), he says that the size of the book has exceeded 300 juz (4800 pages) and that money is urgently needed to print it.
At the end of volume 3, the author announces that this volume is not complete, and the remaining portions of volume 3 will be printed along with volume 4. He is concerned about what people are thinking, and why he cannot choose another printing press. The reason he gives is that the work of Riaz Hind press is excellent and that he has pity on the printer and his problems.
At the end of volume 4, he leaves the future destiny of the book to God, saying only he knows when it will be continued.
As late as 1893, the author was still trying to sell the book, saying that 37 juz (592 pages) out of 300 juz had been printed. (Advertisement in Barakaat-ud-Dua and Shahadat-ul-Quran).
It should be noted that the printing press that had been having problems earlier was the same one used to print the author's numerous books and booklets between 1884 (discontinuation) and 1893.
Volume 5 has no relationship to the topic of the original four volumes and was not finished.
"First I planned to write 300 proofs for the truth of Islam in Baraheen-e-Ahmadiyya but when I pondered over it I realized that these two types of proofs are equal to thousands of signs." (Braheen-e-Ahmadiyya part V, Roohani Khazain, v. 21 p. 6)
Absurd as it may sound, the position is that less than 1 of the 300 'proofs' were printed, but the original manuscript may have contained more, but it was lost. This is contradicted by the author's (Mirza's) own statements about discontinuation.
As the book is very unwieldy and rambling, it has not been translated into any other language despite being the magnum opus of the author. It is not very accessible and not taught to the followers of the Ahmadiyya. We have attempted to translate portions into English: