Qazwini mentions fifty names as his sources, the most important of whom are old geographers and historians such as al-Istakhri, Ibn Fadlan, al-Mas‘udi, Ibn Hawqal, al-Biruni, Ibn al-Athir, al-Maqdisi, and al-Razi. Notwithstanding the fact that Qazwini’s work is a compilation of known and unknown sources, it influenced later works of Islamic cosmology and Islamic geography through its style and language. Qazwini’s cosmography is not pure science but it also was intended to entertain its readers by enriching scientific explanations with stories and poetry.
Qazwini’s cosmography consists of two parts, the first part is celestial, dealing with the spheres of the heaven with its inhabitants (the angels) and chronology. Astronomical knowledge of that time is compiled together with astrological ideas.
The second part discusses the terrestrial: the four elements, the seven climes, seas and rivers, a sort of bestiary on the animal kingdom (including mankind and the jinns), the plants, and minerals. He discusses her man and the faculties of his soul, his character, weaknesses and illnesses.