DASTŪR-E DABĪRĪ, comprehensive manual of letter writing by Moḥammad Meyhanī, consisting of an introduction (dībāča) and two chapters (qeṣm; comp. Ḏu’l-qaʿda 585/December 1189-January 1190). It is known from a single manuscript in the library of the Fatih mosque, Istanbul (ms. no. 4074; Dānešpažūh, p. 27; cf. Monzawī, p. 625).

As stated in the introduction (p. 1), one chapter deals with the prerequisites, style, and manner of dabīrī, the secretarial art, and the other with the aims and techniques of correspondence. The latter chapter actually comprises samples of a variety of types of correspondence: private letters (eḵwānīyāt), social letters (reqāʿ), decrees (solṭānīyāt), reports (maḥāżer), a collective letter (jamāʿat-nāma), and a proclamation (ettefāq-nāma). In the introduction the author also mentioned samples of securities and legal documents (sokūk), but they are missing from the printed text.

The book provides a good example of the plain style of Persian prose of the 10th-12th centuries. The author prescribed eleven rules (nokta) for such writing in the opening chapter. The book also contains valuable information on social, administrative, and political conditions in 12th-century Persia.

Dastūr-e dabīrī apparently served as a model for subsequent authors, including Moḥammad Naḵjavānī, author of the 14th-century administrative manual Dastūr al-kāteb fī taʿyīn al-marāteb.



M.-T. Dānešpažūh, “Dabīrī o Nevīsandegī 5,” Honar o mardom 106, 1350 Š./1971, pp. 27-38.

Moḥammad b. ʿAbd-al-Kārīm Meyhanī, Dastūr-e dabīrī, ed. A. Erzi, Ankara, 1962.

A. Monzawī, Fehrest-e moštarak-e nosḵahā-ye ḵaṭṭī-e fārsī-e Pākestān/Comprehensive Catalogue of Persian Manuscripts in Pakistan V, Islamabad, 1986.

Ḏ. Ṣafā, Ganjīna-ye soḵan II, Tehran, 1348 Š./1969.

(Hashem Rajabzadeh)

Originally Published: December 15, 1994

Last Updated: November 18, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. VII, Fasc. 2, p. 113