O. Ş. Gökay, Kâtip Çelebi: Hayatı, Şahsiyeti, Eserleri, Ankara 1957, 89-90, mentions the following mss. in Istanbul libraries:
In European libraries F. Babinger, Die Geschichtsschreiber der Osmanen und ihre Werke, Lepzig 1927, 122-123 mentions the following mss:
Kâtib Çelebi, Mîzânü’l-Hak fi İhtiyâri’l-Âhak, Istanbul 1306/1888-1889
In his last work, Mîzânü’l-Hak fi İhtiyâri’l-Âhak (“The balance of truth for the selection of the truest [way])”, composed in 1656, Kâtib Çelebi takes part in the current “issue of the day”, the conflict between the Kadızadeli preachers and the Halveti dervishes as for the abolishment of various “innovations”. This essay contains various pieces that further elaborate the author’s views on politics and society.
In his introduction (MH4-15; L22-28), Kâtib Çelebi advocates the value of the “rational sciences” (‘ulûm-ı ‘akliyye), which pertain to matter (madde), either only from the external reality (haric), like mathematics, or both from external reality and from the intellect (zihn), like natural science (‘ilm-i tabi’î). After arguing in favour of philosophy, which he claims has been rejected by Christians but partly accepted by Muslims, he complains that, while till the time of Suleyman “scholars who combined the study of the sacred sciences with that of philosophy were held in high renown”, after the mid-sixteenth centuries rational sciences were excluded from the curriculum of the medrese schools. Then he lays forth the idea, central to his treatise, that mankind has always been divided; but this division has also its advantages and an intelligent policy will not interfere with what is in people’s hearts. Moreover, these divisions are inherent in civilization and society (mukteza-yı hikmet-i temeddün ve ictimâ’) and what a wise man should do is to get to know the beliefs and tenets of every class of people in every country, rather to try to impose his own (MH15-17; L 28-30). This basic tenet is repeated in many parts of the treatise: Kâtib Çelebi stresses that if one tries to deter people from practices which have become usual and customary with time, he will only produce conflict and war, since “human nature does not accept easily any criticism of common usage” (MH36-37; L 47-48; cf. MH75, L89-90); in such matters, “one should [only] see if there is any public evil or any breach of order” (emr-i din ü dünyaya zarar-ı ‘am ve nizama muhil ma’naları göreler: MH89-90; L104). Besides, contrary to what a “fundamentalist” of the age would think, “not every facet of behaviour can be Sunna, you know” (cümle ahval sünnet olacak değil ya: MH87; L102). And, after all, all these conflicts are but the sign of a natural tendency, that of “domination, individualism, and independence” (riyaset ve taferrüd ve istiklal); even children show this tendency, all the more so the various classes of men: this applies to both worldly matters and religious leadership, in fact interprets the behaviour not only of kings, but also of sheikhs and even prophets. It is to be noted that in this point Kâtib Çelebi uses this argument in a peculiar way, concluding that Muhammad is superior to Abraham, while in the “inferior” examples he sees this innate characteristic with some condescension (arguing for instance that “a pair of scholars of the same rank are always at variance and strife”). (MH111-12; L119-20).
In his essay Kâtib Çelebi tackles a variety of subjects, on which the fundamentalist Kadızadelis initiated controversy; subjects as diverse as the legitimacy of singing or dancing, of using drugs, tobacco or coffee, various beliefs such as what was the religion of Abraham or whether the Pharaoh died an infidel, and folk practices such as shaking hands or visiting saints’ tombs. In these chapters one may find scattered pieces of political or historical theory which reflect the author’s earlier works; for instance, a discussion of Khidr’s immortality contains almost verbatim the observations on the three stages of human life, as analyzed in Kâtib Çelebi’s political essays (MH 17-19; L33-34). The chapter on innovation (bid’at), touching a central argument in the Kadızadeli conflict, divides innovation into good and bad (bid’at-ı hasene, bid’at-ı seyyiye). The former includes what was unknown in the time of the Prophet, but “which the leaders of the Faith have subsequently allowed as filling a need (iktiza hasbıyle)”, such as “the building of minarets and the manufacture of books”. Kâtib Çelebi declares straight-forwardly that there is no point in trying to abolish innovations, even bad ones, once established in a community: “people will not abandon custom” (halk ‘adeti terk eylemez). What is necessary for the rulers is only to protect the order of the Muslim people and the principles of Islam among the community (hükkâma ehl-i İslam nizâmını himaye ve şera’it ve erkân-ı İslamı cumhur beyninde muhafaza lazımdır), but not to force people to comply. After all, “scarcely any of the sayings or doings of any age are untainted by innovation” (MH 74-76; L89-91). As for the other central tenet of the Kadızadelis, that of the obligation for “commanding right and forbidding wrong” (emr bi’l-ma’rûf ve nehy ‘an al-münker), Kâtib Çelebi states that “in matters obligatory or prohibited, it is obligatory[, while] in matters merely disapproved or recommended, it is recommended [but not obligatory]”. By laying down a number of rules that further define this duty and its prerequisites, he once again finds that violent interference to people’s lives and customs brings only dissent and strife (MH91-96; L106-109).
Among the subjects discussed is also bribery, a common locus in Ottoman political literature from the sixteenth century onwards (MH115-120; L124-127). Unlike his predecessors, Kâtib Çelebi focuses in bribery not as a means to get high offices, but as gifts given to judges or other officials to secure favourable verdicts (or, he adds, any other desideratum). However, he clearly considers “a judge obtain[ing] his appointment by giving a bribe” as forbidden for both sides, i.e. both the giver and the recipient, while a bribe given to secure one’s rights can be permissible under certain circumstances. Stressing the judge’s post, in these cases, seems to be relevant to the holiness of his office. Then, Kâtib Çelebi includes bribery to the usual customs that cannot be prohibited, as “there is no aversion from bribery at the present time”. So, he recommends a legal stratagem (the “oath of hire” or icare ‘akdı, i.e. a fictional hire of the recipient by the giver for one day) to legitimize bribes given in order to avert a harm or secure an advantage, unless this is given to a judge; after all, he observes, “that is how bribery is conducted nowadays in government departments in all matters except appointments to the office of judge”. After this quite unusual proposal, Kâtib Çelebi somehow hastens to add, of course, that rulers of the past were much more adamant in their maintaining the spirit of the law, since “there are many actions which can be dressed in the garb of legality but are not acceptable to the reason, because of the manifold corruptions lurking beneath”.
 Lewis’ translation is fuller than the 1888 edition, which omits e.g. chapter 8 and jumps from chapter 7 to chapter 9 of the text. Lewis collated this edition with British Museum Add. 7904 (see Lewis, The Balance of Truth, 13).
 See M. Cook, Commanding Right and Forbidding Wrong in Islamic Thought (Cambridge 2000), esp. 316ff.