It is reported that Ibn Abbas said: "I have never seen any people better than the Sahabah of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. Throughout his mission, until he passed away, they only asked him about thirteen matters, all of which are mentioned in the Qur'an. For example, [the meaning of]: 'They ask you about fighting in the sacred month...' (2:212); and 'They ask you about the menstruating woman...' (2:222)" Ibn Abbas said, "They only asked him about matters which were of actual concern to them." [ See 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abd al Rahman al Darimi, Sunan, I, 51.]
Ibn 'Umar said in this respect: "Don't ask about something that hasn't happened, for I heard my father, 'Umar ibn al Khattab, curse one who asked about something which had not occurred." [ al Darimi, op. cit., I, 50.]
Qasim said (to the third generation of Muslims): "You ask about things we never asked about, and quarrel about things we never quarrelled about. You even ask about things which I'm not familiar with; but if we did know, it would not be permitted for us to remain silent concerning them." [ al Darimi, op. cit., I, 49.]
The Sahabah who gave Fatawa in the Prophet's lifetime were: Abu Bakr, 'Uthman, 'Ali, 'Abd al Rahman ibn 'Awf, Abd Allah ibn Mas'ud, Ubay ibn Kab, Mu'adh ibn Jabal, Ammar ibn Yasir, Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman, Zayd ibn Thabit, Abu al Darda, Abu Musa al Ash'ari and Salman al Farisi, may Allah be pleased with them.
Some Sahabah gave more Fatawa than others. Those who gave the most Fatawa were: 'Aishah Umm al Mu'minin, 'Umar ibn al Khattab and his son Abd Allah, 'Ali ibn Abu Talib, Abd Allah ibn Abbas and Zayd ibn Thabit. The Fatawa given by any one of these six would fill a great volume. For example, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Musa ibn Ya'qub ibn al Khalifah Ma'mun collected the Fatawa of Ibn Abbas in twenty volumes.
Those from whom a lesser number of Fatawa were narrated are: Umm Salmah Umm al Mu'minin, Anas ibn Malik, Abu Sa'id al Khudri, Abu Hurayrah, 'Uthman ibn 'Affan, Abd Allah ibn Amr ibn al 'As, 'Abd Allah ibn Zubayr, Abu Musa al Ash'ari, Sa'd ibn Abu Waqqas, Salman al Farisi, Jabir ibn Abd Allah, Mu'adh ibn Jabal and Abu Bakr al Siddiq. The Fatawa of each of these thirteen would fill only a small part of a book.
The following are from 'Malfoozat', a book of anecdotes by Hakim ul-Ummat, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi (ra):
Hadhrat Shuraih (radhiallahu anhu) was appointed the Qadhi by Hadhrat Umar (radhiallahu anhu). During the Khilafat of Hadhrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu), Hadhrat Shuriah (radhiallahu anhu) was still the Qadhi. Hadhart Ali’s shield was stolen. Hadhrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu) recognised his shield when he saw it in the possession of a Jew.
He instituted a claim in the court of Qadhi Shuraih (radhiallahu anhu) who asked that Hadhrat Ali produce his witnesses to prove his claim. Hadhrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu) presented his son and his emancipated slave. According to Hadhrat Shuraih (radhiallahu anhu) the testimony of a son in favor of his father was not admissible, hence he ordered Hadhrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu) to present another witness. When Hadhrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu) was unable to do so, Qadhi Shuraih dismissed the claim. Hadhrat Ali (radhaillahu anhu), the Khalifah of the time, emerged from the court cheerfully. On seeing this high degree of justice, the Jew recited the Kalimah and embraced Islam. He presented the armour to Hadhart Ali (radhiallahia anhu) saying that, in actual fact, it belonged to him Hadhart Ali. Hadhart Ali (radhiallahia anhu) responded: “I have made a gift of it to you.” Thereafter the Jew remained perpetually in the company of Hadhart Ali (radhiallahia anhu) and was martyred in the Battle of Siffeen.
Two companions along the journey sat down to eat. The one has five bread rolls and the other had three. A passer-by, on the invitation of two companions, joined them. After eating, the generous passer-by presented them with eight dirhams (silver coins). The traveler who had three bread rolls requested his companion to share the money equally between them. The companion refused, saying that he was entitled to five dirhams since he had five bread rolls. The other one should receive three dirhams because he had three rolls. When they could not settle this dispute, the presented their case to Hadhrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu) who said to the one who had three bread rolls:
“What haram is there if you accept this division of three and five?”
He replied: “I want justice.”
“If it is justice you want, then you take one dirham and your companion seven dirhams.”
The companion with three bread rolls objected. Hadhrat Ali (radhiallahu anhu) commented:
“There were eight rolls and three who ate, hence each person ate one third of the eight rolls. Eight consists of 24 third. Thus each one ate eight parts. However, his three rolls consistes of 9 parts (thirds). After having consumed his 8 parts there remained one part of his share. The one with five rolls had 15 parts (thirds) of which he ate 8, leaving behind 7
parts. The 8 dirhams have, therefore, to be divided in this proportion the one who contributed one part of his bread has to receive in dirham and the one who contributed 7 parts should receive 7 dirhams.”