What is the meaning of [If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain]

If you are unable to get your own way, you must bow to the inevitable.

> ‘I know I refused to do it, but somebody’s got to, so if no one else will
take it on, I suppose I shall have to do it myself. It’s the old, old story of
Muhammad and the mountain.’

The earliest appearance of the phrase is from Chapter 12 of the _Essays_ of
Francis Bacon, published in 1625:

> Mahomet made the people believe that he would call an hill to him, and from
the top of it offer up his prayers, for the observers of his law. The people
assembled; Mahomet called the hill to come to him, again and again; and when
the hill stood still, he was never a whit abashed, but said, If the hill will
not come to Mahomet, Mahomet will go to the hill.

This proverb has not the same meaning as the story from which it is drawn.
Muhammad did not bow to the inevitable; he snatched victory from defeat. The
story runs that the Arabs were reluctant to accept his teaching until he had
performed a miracle. He ordered Mount Safa, outside the holy city of Mecca, to
come to him. When it did not move he said : ‘God is merciful. Had it obeyed me
it would have fallen on us and destroyed us. I will therefore go to the
mountain and thank God that He has had mercy on us.’

It was published in John Ray‘s 1670 book of English proverbs. Though widely
attributed to Muhammed, the prophet of Islam who lived in Arabia in 6th
century, there is no written or oral tradition that traces this phrase back to