Mulk an administrative division of the kingdom under the sultanate of Bengal. The Arabic term mulk is synonymous with a territory or kingdom. Under the sultanate administration the term mulk is applied to an administrative unit of the kingdom denoting a province. Under the Iliyas Shahi sultans the terms arsah, iqlim and mulk were used in coins and inscriptions, and they were the provinces of the kingdom. Under Husayn Shahi rule each of the provinces was variously known as arsah, iqlim and mulk. The expression 'Mulk Chowlistan Urf Arsah Kamaru' appearing on a coin of Sikandar Shah clearly shows that the term mulk was identical with arsah. Under the Husayn Shahis, the territorial division of iqlim exactly corresponds with arsah. Thus the use of the terms iqlim and arsah under the Iliyas Shahis, the use of the terms arsah, iqlim and mulk under the Husayn Shahis denoting identical connotation of province can be explained by the assumption that no system in terminology was evolved for the whole of Bengal. Regionally, arsah was used in south-west Bengal, iqlim was used in East Bengal and north-east Bengal. Nothing specific is found for southern and south-eastern Bengal during the period. The reference to one 'Mulk Sudkawan' (Chittagong) under Sultan Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah in the report of Ibn Battuta clearly indicates that the province in south-eastern Bengal was denoted as mulk.
Under the Iliyas Shahi rule, the officer in charge of a province was the sar-i-laskar wa wazir, and under the Husayn Shahi rule it was sar-i-laskar wa wazir and sometimes wazir. Since arsah and mulk were identical under the Iliyas Shahis, and mulk was a province under the Husayn Shahi sultans, it appears that the officer in charge of a mulk was sar-i-laskar wa wazir. But the report of Ibn Battuta specifically places Mulk Sudkawan of Sultan Fakhruddin under an officer designated as Na'ib (viceroy), a deviation from the subsequent Iliyas Shahi and Husayn Shahi system. [Muazzam Hussain Khan]
Bibliography AH Dani, Bibliography of the Muslim Inscriptions of Bengal, Appendix to JASB, vol. ii, 1957; MH Khan, Fakhruddin Mubarak Shah of Sonarganw, Dhaka, 2005.