The ms. is dated in 23 Muharem 946 (June 10, 1539); however, the author states that it was composed during the vizierate of Lütfi Paşa, which started in Safer 946 (beg. in June 18, 1539; İ. H. Uzunçarşılı, Osmanlı tarihi, vol. 2, Ankara 1949, 537).
Süleymaniye Ktp. Yazma Bağışlar Bölümü no. 4959
Altay, A., “Düstûrü’l-mülk vezîrü’l-melik (Metin ve değerlendirme)”, unpublished Master Thesis, Selçuk University, Konya 2008.
In the introduction of Düstûrü’l-mülk vezîrü’l-melik (“Rules of sovereignty, i.e. the vizier of the king, for Sultan Suleyman”), Kadi Fadlullah claims that he wished to compile stories, advices and words of wisdom, that cause the maintenance of the country and the praise of a Sultan’s dominion (vilâyet... bakî ve ömrü devlet öğüş olmağa), from various history books, so that the Sultan may benefit and act accordingly. If he does so, his name and kingship will last forever (A138: pâyende kala ve izzeti ve saltanatı arta). And indeed, the rest of his essay, which consists of ten chapters, is a collection of stories (containing several sub-stories each) -mostly with animals- and mainly of Iranian origin: in the first chapter (A138-146), the king of Shirvan accepts the advice of his younger brother, Melikzade Mezzeban, on morality, avoidance of unnecessary expenses, the rights of brothers, the importance of the peasants being content with their ruler, and so on. The second chapter (A146-156) focuses in the value of friendship; the third (A156-158), starring Ardaşir and his son-in-law Dana-i Mihriban, speaks against greediness and dependence on the worldly goods. In the fourth chapter (A158-165), a story with Div Gâv-pây (“the demon with cow legs”, in the time when demons lived among men) stresses the importance of thought and knowledge, leading to the need for the pious (dindar) and the “friends of God” (A159: Tanrı dostları) to be respected and cared for (this chapter includes a discussion of the elements of human soul, namely ruh-i tabi’î, ruh-i hayvanî and ruh-i nefsâni: A164). The fifth chapter (A165-173) deals with the rules of behaviour for the ruler’s servants, i.e. that they know their limits and that they do not reveal secrets or diffuse slander.
In the sixth chapter (A173-182), Kadi Fadlullah talks of justice and emphasizes that the ruler should confide his subjects to just and compassionate administrators, whom he also must honour. The seventh chapter (A182-191) gives the interesting advice that a ruler should not covet the territories of other kings (A190): he must know the limits of his army’s power, as well as of his enemy’s. In the eighth chapter (A191-200) the author urges the servants to obey their ruler, but seems also to imply (in a story on Hüsrev’s vizier who avoided killing his ruler’s wife as ordered, A199) that committing sin under the orders of one’s ruler is a sin itself. The ninth chapter (A200-205) focuses in the need to know and be wary of one’s enemy, while in the last chapter (205-209) Kadi Fadlullah adopts a more pious attitude, with stories from the Islamic tradition, illustrating the need for compassion and justice, for punishing oppression, and for caring for one’s subjects in times of famine.
Among the interesting points of the text, one has to note the statement that “at first, kingship was upon the Prophets; then it passed over to caliphs, and then to Sultans” (A142: evvel saltanat peygamberlerdeydi; andan hulafa andan padişâhlar üstine düşdi).
Commentaries to the Quran and to the Prophet’s tradition. The author mentions Kelile ve Dimne, but does not use any story from this work (A106-7). The work seems to be an adaptation of Marzuban b. Rustam’s Marzuban-name (late 10th century), translated into Turkish (through a Persian translation by Sa’d al-Din al-Varâvinî) for the bey of Germiyan by Sadrü’d-din Şeyhoğlu Mustafa in the second half of the 14th century; the tenth chapter, adopted as well by Fadlullah, is an addition by Şeyhoğlu (A108-110).
Altay, A., “Düstûrü’l-mülk vezîrü’l-melik (Metin ve değerlendirme)”, unpublished Master Thesis, Selçuk University, Konya 2008, Introduction