If the mountain won't come to Mohammed, then Mohammed will come to the mountain

Although attributed to Mohammed, the Prophet of Islam, by Francis Bacon in a brief essay entitled On Boldness in 1625; the actual phrase can’t be traced directly to Mohammed. Bacon suggests that Mohammed said these words after being unsuccessful in performing the miracle of beckoning a hill to come to him, showed wisdom with these words rather than admitting defeat. His words could read as humble, practical or bold. He could be acknowledging that he could not move the mountain with a sense of humility; he could be moving forward practically and just getting things done, or if could be moving to the mountain with bravado getting past any embarrassment of failing his task. Sometimes people offer the words in a general way with no direct reference to Mohammed. Whether you call it compromise, ingenuity, or simple wisdom - it worked! It stands as praise of practicality and flexibility.

Mark 9:27
And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out;
it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye
than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell

Jesus spoke these words only once in Mark but twice in Matthew (5:29 and 18:9). History indicates people understanding them as exaggeration for otherwise we would have millions of one-eyed Christians walking the planet. Like the words attributed to Mohammed, we are led to value compromise. Whereas Mohammed would have impressed mountains by commanding them to move, Christians desire to avoid sin without pulling out one of their eyes: self-enucleation! However, there are times where one should settle for the wisest rather than the most ambitious or most desired choice. Like we will read elsewhere, keep it short and simple.

I will be honest here; I am more than open to other interpretations of the words attributed to Mohammed. 

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Comment by Forrest Curo on 2nd mo. 23, 2017 at 2:58pm

~"If your way of seeing things leads you to do wrong, get rid of it! If your methods for doing things are doing harm, stop it!"

Aramaic, like ancient Hebrew, was a relatively pure language -- based a few concrete root words conceptionally spread to cover related meanings, and lots of metaphoric expressions to eloquently express what we English speakers do with loan words from more abstract languages. Thus it translates beautifully into less metaphoric languages -- but had best not be taken too literally.

Comment by Glenn Morison on 2nd mo. 23, 2017 at 3:36pm

Forrest, exactly! Thanks.


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