Do angels have free will?
This is a good example of modern philosophical notions clouding theology. Allah mentions in the Quran that the angels do as they are commanded by Allah and they do not disobey. No where does Allah or His Messenger (s) invoke the concept of “free will.” Some Muslims think of the angels as mindless robots but this diminishes the high status of and is disrespectful to the noble angels who we should love, respect, and admire. We know that the angels have complete reverence for and awe of Allah and why wouldn’t they when they are receiving direct commands from the Most High?
Their obedience is out of their superlative fear and love due to their proximity to Allah, which is a testament to the beautiful character and personality of the angels as well as the imposing, overwhelming glory and majesty of Allah. And this also speaks volumes about the evil and despicableness of Iblis, who was of the jinn, not an angel, but was also in the presence of Allah and receiving direct commands yet he disobeyed. His sense of self and the arrogance it engendered overshadowed in his heart and mind the grandeur of Allah, which is mindbogglingly evil, the essence of evil. This also speaks to the Mercy of Allah because, think about the fact that even a mountain disintegrated when Allah merely manifested Himself to it as witnessed by Moses. Think about how even the Words of Allah cause mountains to cleave asunder out of fear of their Lord. Yet Iblis is directly disobeying Allah but is unfazed and Allah even grants him his wish. Allah is not a tyrant — He has boundless Mercy and gentleness with and care for His creation, yet we continue to disobey Him. How foolish! How embarrassing for us. May Allah forgive us.