Abu Yahya Zakariya' ibn Muhammad al-Qazwini or Zakarya Qazvini was an Arab or Persian physician, astronomer, geographer and proto-science fiction writer.
He was a descendant of the Medina sahabi Anas bin Malik.
He belonged to a family of jurists who had long before settled in Qazvin. Born in Qazvin, Persia, Zakariya Qazvini served as a legal expert and judge in several localities in Persia and at the city of Baghdad. He travelled around in Mesopotamia and the Levant, and finally entered the circle patronized by the governor of Baghdad, ‘Ata-Malik Juwayni (d 1283 CE).
It was to the latter that Qazvini dedicated his famous cosmography titled "Marvels of Creatures and the Strange Things Existing" (عجائب المخلوقات وغرائب الموجودات). This treatise, frequently illustrated, was immensely popular and is preserved today in many copies. It was translated into his native Persian language, and later also into Turkish.
Qazvini was also well known for his geographical dictionary "Monument of Places and History of God's Bondsmen" (آثار البلاد وأخبار العباد). Both of these treatises reflect extensive reading and learning in a wide range of disciplines. Qazvini also wrote a futuristic proto-science fiction Arabic tale entitled Awaj bin Anfaq (أوج بن أنفاق), about a man who travelled to Earth from a distant planet.
Qazvini mentioned how alchemists dubbed "swindlers" claimed to have carried out the transmutation of metals into gold. He states:.