Does Islam permit the over-throwing of corrupt Islamic governments as attempts were made during the Arab Spring?

Certain Arab countries tried to over-throw corrupt Islamic governments during the Arab Spring. This is totally UnIslamic. This can be seen from the fact that despite the blatant perversion in the Muslim rulers after the pious caliphate, the Muslim ulama did not lead an insurrection against these corrupt individuals. For about a period of one thousand years they remained detached in this matter and continued to engage all their efforts in non-political fields. This was not a matter of accident but in obedience to the express injunctions of the Shariah.

As we know, in the books of Hadith detailed traditions have been set down in the chapters titled Kitab al-Fitan. The Prophet Muhammad observed in plain words that in later times perversions would set in in the rulers, they would become tyrannical and unjust, but that Muslims should not wield their swords against them. They should rather move to the mountains with their goats and camels.

By ‘goats and camels’ are meant the opportunities in non-political fields, which exist, even when the political institutions are corrupted. This injunction given by the Prophet meant that the Muslims should avail of such opportunities by avoiding clash and confrontation in the political field. In short, by ignoring the political problem, they should avail of the non-political opportunities.

These injunctions of the Prophet Muhammad were so clear that the Muslim ulama of later times formed a consensus to make insurrection against the rulers unlawful.

Imam An-Nawawi, commenting upon some traditions as set forth by Sahih Muslim (Kitab al-Imarah) observes: “You should not come into conflict with the rulers in matters of their power. Even if you find them going against express Islamic injunctions, you should attempt to make the truth clear to them solely through words of wisdom and advice. So far as revolt and war against them in order to unseat them is concerned, that is totally unlawful according to the consensus of the ulama, even when the rulers are zalim and fasiq (tyrants and corrupt).” (Sahih Muslim, bi sharh an-Nawawi, 12/229)