I came across the following Hadith while reading Sahih Muslim
Muslim :: Book 20 : Hadith 4483
It has been narrated on the authority of Amir b. Sa'd b. Abu Waqqas who said: I wrote (a letter) to Jabir b. Samura and sent it to him through my servant Nafi', asking him to inform me of something he had heard from the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him). He wrote to me (in reply): I heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say on Friday evening, the day on which al-Aslami was stoned to death (for committing adultery): The Islamic religion will continue until the Hour has been established, or you have been ruled over by twelve Caliphs, all of them being from the Quraish. also heard him say: A small force of the Muslims will capture the white palace, the police of the Persian Emperor or his descendants. I also heard him say: Before the Day of Judgment there will appear (a number of) impostors. You are to guard against them. I also heard him say: When God grants wealth to any one of you, he should first spend it on himself and his family (and then give it in charity to the poor). I heard him (also) say: I will be your forerunner at the Cistern (expecting your arrival).
As this is from Sahih Muslim, I'm sure we all will agree on its authenticity. First of all it tells us about a person who had been stoned to death. I have heard a few other ahadith that do talk about stoning of those who commit adultery. In the Quran we do not find any ayah where Allah has ordered us to carry out this punishment. So, why was this punishment a punishment in the Prophet's (may peace be upon him) time? What is the status of this punishment in our time? Are we required to carry it out? I have heard that for married people its stoning and for unmarried its lashing. Is this correct? What is the authority on this?
My second question regarding the above Hadith is about the 12 Caliphs. Who are / were these Caliphs? Are they still to come or have they passed away? Are these the same Caliphs that the shias call Imams? What is the sunni position about these Caliphs?
My third question is regarding the above Hadith's statement, "A small force of the Muslims will capture the white palace, the police of the Persian Emperor or his descendants". What does this mean?
My fourth and final question is about the impostors that will appear. I think we have had a few of them already. Does the Dajjal also fall into this category?
My intention to ask all these questions is not to start an argument or anything of that sort. I came across this hadith and had these questions in my mind so I thought I would ask the people on this forum for my benefit and also for the benefit for those who have similar questions.
Sorry for a lengthy post. Thanks for reading and looking forward to your answers.