In Greek, there is an expression which translates literally to
When Muhammad does not go to the mountain, the mountain goes to Muhammad.
The expression is used when the speaker believes that they can approach something which cannot approach them. Essentially, the speaker wants to say that if something does not happen one way, it will happen the other.
For example, someone who goes to see their friend who could not accept an invitation to come over might say on arriving, “When Muhammad does not go to the mountain, the mountain goes to Muhammad.” The intended meaning is “Since you couldn’t come over, I came instead.”
Usually, this idiom is translated to a similar-sounding one in English, but as I explain below, the meaning is different.
There are expressions involving Muhammad and a mountain in several language. In most of them, it seems that the meaning is the same as the one in English.
The English expression is
The meaning, according to The Free Dictionary, is
If one can’t have one’s way, one must give in.
While the meaning seems close, it is quite different. The English idiom implies that the second alterative is worse than the first, in the sense that, if the mountain wouldn’t go to Muhammad, he would have to go there himself.
However, the Greek idiom switches up the subject and object in the sentence (“When Muhammad does not go to the mountain…”). There is no implication that the second alternative is worse than the first. The focus, as I said before, is on the fact that if something is to happen, it can happen in whatever way it has to.