if the mountain won't come to Muhammad

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Alternative forms[edit]


An ellipsis (anapodoton) of the apocryphal phrase “if the mountain won't come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain”, coined in a story by Francis Bacon


if the mountain won't come to Muhammad

  1. If something one wishes to be done cannot be commanded done, one must find another way to achieve one's goal.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bacon, Francis (1625), chapter 12, in Essays[1]
  2. ^ Ray, John (1670) A collection of English proverbs digested into a convenient method for the speedy finding any one upon occasion: with short annotations: whereunto are added local proverbs with their explications, old proverbial rhythmes, less known or exotick proverbial sentences, and Scottish proverbs.
  3. ^ Gregory Y. Titelman (1996) Random House Dictionary of Popular Proverbs and Sayings, New York: Random House.

Further reading[edit]