Circumstances Where The Companions Felt It Wasn’t Obligatory To Blindly Follow The Prophet
The Companions would always simply obey the Prophet (saw), not even discussing with him his commands, except in the following circumstances:
(1) When the Prophet (saw) gave his opinion in a worldly matter. For example during the battle of Badr, the Prophet (saw) decided that the Muslims should camp in one location, while Habbaab Ibn Al-Mundhir thought that another location was better, and so he (saw) accepted his view over his own view.
(2) When the Prophet (saw) expressed his opinion in a religious matter before that view was approved or not by Allaah. For example ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab expressed his view regarding what should be done with the prisoners of Badr.
(3) When the Companions found a ruling to be new and strange to them. In such instances, they would discuss the ruling with the Prophet (saw), not to contradict him, but simply to learn the wisdom behind this ruling.
(4) When the Companions thought that an action of the Prophet was specific to him. In such instances, they would not force themselves to follow it.
(5) When the Prophet (saw) would tell them to do something and they felt from the context of his words that he was not commanding them but simply telling them that a certain act was permisible.
Otherwise they would unconditionally follow and obey the Prophet (saw).
[The Sunnah And Its Role In Islamic Legislation" p. 86]