A Muslim man who suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm has told of how he awoke from a coma to begin a journey which led him to convert to Christianity.
Karim Shamsi-Basha’s recovery following a month in a coma was so striking, his neurosurgeon remarked he had: “Seen very few people recover as you did. You have to find out why you survived.”
Thus began the award-winning photographer's two decade quest which saw him heal against the odds and find Christ.
And the Syrian-born 45-year-old has chronicled his quite literal damascene conversion in his book Paul And Me.
Recounting the mass incredulity at his recovery, he recalls lying in his Alabama hospital bed after his neurosurgeon urged him to discover the reason for his survival. He wrote:
“I had a slight idea why I made it, but I was too scared to divulge the thought, even to myself. My hospital room wall was covered with prayers from individuals and churches. I always wondered why those Christians were praying for a Muslim man. I had a feeling that God saved me to tell the story about His love.”
In an interview with the Christian Post, Shamsi-Basha revealed he practiced Islam "very seriously in his teenage years."
"I prayed five times a day. I walked to the mosque before sunrise. I fasted the month of Ramadan."
But it wasn't enough.
He told HuffPost UK: "Throughout my growing up as a Muslim, I searched for a God I can love more than I can fear. That was not available to me. Love is available in Islam, but it is not the main offering.
"In Christianity, it is THE total offering. What I like to say is this: Instead of turning my back on Islam, I opened my heart to the love of God, in the Lord Jesus Christ."
He added: "I would like to address any Muslim who might not agree with me: Love is mentioned in the Bible more than 500 times. A generous look at the Quran and you find out it is mentioned less than 30 times. I think this is worth investigating."
During the two decades it took him to reach his new faith, the father-of-three endured a divorce, the failure of another relationship, the death of a parent and even homelessness.
Following his conversion Shamsi-Basha, whose family remain Muslim, now believes his purpose is "to share God's love with people and let them know He loves all his children."
You can read more excerpts of his book and buy it here.
In 2012, The Examiner cited a study by researchers at the University of California at San Diego who reported finding evidence the human brain be may genetically programmed to believe in God. It explains:
"Essentially, these neuroscientists have identified a region of the human brain that appears to be linked to thoughts of spirituality and the act of prayer. Their findings tentatively suggest that we as a species are genetically wired to create and believe in 'God'."
The revelations came amid a study of the brain patterns of individuals with epilepsy.