An angel is a supernatural being in various religions. The theological study of angels is known as angelology.
Abrahamic religions often depict them as benevolent celestial intermediaries between God (or Heaven) and humanity.
Prior to anything, we must first establish whether the narration is authentic, as far as the text and the chain as well.
If we were to assume it's all good as far as its issuance from a Ma'sum (a.s.), then we most certainly cannot take it in its literal meaning, and it must be interpreted in such a way that would make sense. Whale could refer to the orbit, maybe because the whale's back is not flat, and for the earth, it has "the equatorial bulge", the water could refer o space, rock could refer to planets, and so on.
Some of these explanations have been given in commentaries on al-Kafi.
The Imam (a.s.) is duty-bound to say things that are not above or beyond people's comprehension at that time. There could be words omitted for brevity, like how the Quran addresses people and certain things.
The following is a good detailed answer (in Arabic) from the holy Shrine of Imam Husain (a.s.):
And Allah ta'ala knows best
Sincere believer who always obeys Allah, the Prophet and Ahlul Bayt is mentioned in a Hadeeth narrated from Imam Al-Baqir (AS): The angles are the servants of the believers. (Al-Kaafi 2:33).
The main question is who is the real believer who has this degree? Is it enough to think or claim to be a believer? Or it needs real practical evidence?
You can share with angles some of their deeds which are mentioned in Quran like:
1. Reciting Salawaat (ALLAHUMMA SALLI ALA MUHAMMAD WA AALI MUHAMMAD) as we read in Quran (33:56) :Verily, Allah and His angles recite Salawaat on the Prophet. When you repeat reciting the Salawaat, you will sharing this noble deed with the angles.
2. Seeking forgiveness for the other believers, as we read in Quran (Sura 42, verse 5): and the angles glorify the praises of their Lord and seek forgiveness for those on the earth.
3. Glorifying and praising Allah (Sura 39 : verse 75).
4. Prostration to Allah (Sojood). (Sura 38, verse 73).
5. Avoiding sin. (Sura 16, verse 50.
6. Being humble (Sura 16, verse 49).
7. Cursing the enemies of Allah. ( Sura 3, verse 87).
I would suggest you read this hadith from Imam Ali (a.s.):
Almighty God gave Angels intellect without desires, He gave animals desires without intellect, and He gave both (intellect and desire) to Humans. So a person whose intellect prevails over their desires becomes better than the Angels, whilst one whose desires prevails over his intellect is worse than the animals.
The two angles who will be sent to the grave to question the deceased are called Munkar and Nakeer for general people, and Mubashshir and Basheer for the believer. They question the deceased about his faith: Who is your Lord? Your Prophet? Your Imam? Your Book? Your Qiblah? Believer will reply the proper reply and get mercy from Allah and his grave will be a garden from Paradise, while the non believer will face the disaster and his grave will be a dig from hellfire.
It is narrated in supplications from Ahlul Bayt: O Allah, protect me from Munkar and Nakeer, and make me see Mubashshir and Basheer.(Mafateeh Al-Jinan, A'maal of Rajab).
Proper faith and sincere obedience of Allah saves the believers from the hardships of the grave. Night Prayer, Charity, serving the parents, praying all the prayers on time, reciting Quran, Du'a, Ziyarat of Ahlul Bayt (AS) help in making the grave a peaceful place for the believer.
The narration which is in our books of Hadeeth from the Prophet (SAWA): Jabrael came to me and said: We, the angles, do not enter a house having in it a dog or a statue or a vessel in which people urinate. Al-Tahtheeb 2:377 and Al-Mahaasin 615.
Some Wahabi Shaikhs translate the Arabic word تمثال as painting or photo which in fact away from the meaning of statue.
It is Makrouh (Disliked) to make or keep paintings of full animate objects.
Some people say it is because Allah had created the jinn first, and the angels had seen the jinn fighting so knew that a new species with free will would also fight.
Some say that there were other humanoids (nasnas), and they had fought, and so they deduced from this that a new species with free will would also fight.
These two views are reinforced by a narration from Imam al-Sadiq (A) in which he says that the angels could not have known that humans would cause bloodshed if they hadn't seen the precedent of earlier creatures on earth.
Some simply say that they understood this from looking at human nature, or by looking at the nature of life on earth and the challenges of living as an earth-based being (for instance, competition for food, water, reproduction, and land).
Since the earth (dunya) is considered the basest or lowest level of creation, vis-a-vis the heavenly realms, perhaps it also didn't make sense to instill Allah's vicegerency in an earthling.
Maybe there are other reasons too which relate to the nature of the angels and their existence outside of the earthly realm which would give them access to knowledge or a perspective that human beings generally lack.
Reading other verses in Quran (Allah has created every moving animal from water) (24:45)
and (It is He, who sends down water from the sky and with it We bring forth plants) (6:99) clarifies that Jinns and angles are not included. We can not take just one verse on a subject and leave other verses on the same subject to understand what Quran says about that subject.
It is ok to address a secondary cause (whether it be Imam 'Ali, an employer, a relative, etc) to request specific assistance as long as one agrees that Allah is the primary cause and these are just secondary means.
There is theoretically no problem with addressing the angels as well. However the Qur'an says that the angels fulfil God's command as God gives it to them and therefore this suggests they do not usually act according to the wishes or preferences of human beings. For instance, if an angel assigned to deliver sustenance, it will deliver what it was told to and not what the person wants. So for instance if I just casually say "Ya Jibra'il", it might not have the same effect. Of course God knows best.
The Qur'an says that the angels do not disobey God and do as they are commanded (Qur'an 66:6). It is also narrated from Imam 'Ali (A) that the angels do not disobey or tire. From this, we can glean that the angels do not disobey Allah.
Possibly, angels may have the inherently capability to disobey but simply choose not to do so, because they have no reason to do it and no inclination to do it.
This is often understood as being because angels have intellect but no animal desires, unlike human beings, which have both intellect and animals desires, and usually it is either our bodily urges or related traits (such as anger) which cause us to do wrong.
The angels also have a greater awareness of higher realities (such as things pertaining to Allah) as well as the ugliness of some wrong acts, so perhaps this also may contribute to not wishing to do wrong things, unlike people, who are sometimes blind to these things.
For this reason, stories like that of Fotros can be considered questionable.
God knows best!
He had the choice to sin or not. Some beings are stubborn and arrogant. We see this with humans as well that they know the truth of Allahs punishment yet still persist in sin knowingly.
The angels were mentioned in Quran in around 88 places. Hundreds of Hadeeths narrated by Ahlul Bayt (AS) from the Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) did mention the angels. The angels have degrees and different duties. The four main angels are Israfil, Jabrael, Mikaeel and Izraeel.
'The duties of the angels are in very big variety. You can find more details in the books of Hadeeth like Biharul Anwar.
This question touches on the nature of reality - for instance, are thoughts part of reality?
In the material world, one's thoughts and intentions are not visible or "real" in the same way that a brick or truck is real.
However, in the hereafter, one's thoughts and intention will be made manifest so everyone can see them. (Thus, everyone will be able to read what was on other people's minds the same way they would see a brick or a truck here.) Therefore, they have an objective reality which we do not see directly.
Beings such as angels or Shaytan which are occupying a different aspect of reality (for instance, coming and going from the heavens) or which are of a different construction may be able to see the realities of our thoughts and intentions. (If the angels could not see your intentions, how could they write down that you should have extra reward when you are tempted to do a wrong deed but abstain?)
To my understanding, this is not about special permission from Allah but rather being on a different "wavelength" of reality or having different senses, in the same way that some animals can hear certain frequencies that humans cannot.
In any case, the way that the universe is created is part of the divine plan, so we should assume there is divine wisdom behind it.