˹It is˺ Allah ˹Who˺ calls back the souls ˹of people˺ upon their death as well as ˹the souls˺ of the living during their sleep. Then He keeps those for whom He has ordained death, and releases the others until ˹their˺ appointed time. Surely in this are signs for people who reflect. [Surah Yusuf 39:42]
Souls are taken every time we sleep. And who can return it except Allah(SWT).
Commenting on this aayah, Imaam al-Qurtubi رحمه الله said: “Allaah سبحانه و تعالى takes away the soul at the end of a person’s term, as well as those in sleep… Thus, He holds the souls for which death has arrived, and releases the other souls until the time of their death.
Know the bigger picture of this journey
We don’t know what tomorrow holds but Allah(SWT) does and He who has seen every generation before us and without whom we cannot take another breath, informed the Prophet(SAW) on this onward journey.
“When the believing servant is at the point of leaving this world and is about to enter the next, angels of mercy descend from the heaven, their faces white and radiant like the sun. With two of them is a shroud from the fabric of Paradise made of the softest, finest white silk, and perfume from the fragrance of Paradise. These two angels keep their distance, and the others sit around him stretching back as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death arrives, having the best of forms and most fragrant of scents, and sits by his head saying, ‘O pure soul, at peace and rest depart to Allāh’s forgiveness and good pleasure.’ The angels will also say words of encouragement, ‘O pure soul which was in a pure body, leave the body in a praiseworthy state  pleased and well-pleasing, and have glad tidings of Allāh’s rest and ease. Go to a Lord who is not angry.’ They will repeat this until the soul leaves the body, and on hearing these words, the soul will leave, exiting the body as easily as water drops fall from the spout of a water skin, or sweat leaves the body. The eyes follow the soul as it leaves and the Angel of Death will receive it.
No sooner does he take it, within the blink of an eye, the two angels rush forward and take it from his hand, place it in the shroud and perfume it, and all the angels pass it amongst themselves, taking in the ethereal scent. This is what Allāh says,
حَتَّىٰ إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ تَوَفَّتْهُ رُسُلُنَا وَهُمْ لَا يُفَرِّطُونَ
…until, when death overtakes any of you, those sent by Us take his soul, and they never fail in their duty.
When the soul has left the body, all the angels between the heavens and the earth, and all the angels in the heaven send ṣalāh on him. They say, ‘A pure soul has come from the earth, may Allāh send his ṣalāh upon you and upon the body in which you lived.’ The gates of the heavens open for him and the guardians of every gate implore Allāh that his soul ascends in their direction.
From the soul emanates the most exquisite scent of musk that ever existed on earth and two angels ascend with it. As they pass by gatherings of angels, they are asked, ‘What is this good soul?’ They reply, ‘He is so-and-so, the son of so-and-so,’ using the best names with which he had been addressed in this life. They say, ‘Welcome to this pure soul that used to be in a pure body.’ When they reach the lowest heaven, they request admission and the gates open for them and the angels there exclaim, ‘What a beautiful scent you have brought from the earth!’ The most select angels of each heaven will escort him to the next one until he reaches the seventh heaven, finally standing before Allāh by the Throne, and all the while the angels will keep supplicating for him. Allāh then says, “Write my servants record in illiyyūn,”
What will explain to you what ʿilliyyūn is? A clearly written record witnessed by those brought near.
His records are inscribed in ʿilliyyūn and Allāh will say to Angels Brought Close, “Bear witness that I have forgiven the person who has deeds such as these!” The angels are then told, ‘Take him back to the earth because I promised them that from it I created them, into it shall I send them, and from it resurrect them once again. , He is then returned to the earth and his soul returned to his body and at that point, he will hear the patter of his companion’s shoes as they walk away from his grave.
When a disbelieving servant is at the point of leaving this world and about to enter the next, angels of punishment, severe and stern, with dark faces descend to him from the heavens. With them are coarse garments of the Fire and they sit around him, stretching back as far as the eye can see. The Angel of Death arrives and sits by his head, saying, ‘Vile soul, depart to Allāh’s wrath and anger.’ The angels will say, ‘Vile soul which lived in a vile body, leave the body in a blameworthy state, displeased and with displeasure on you. Go to Allāh’s punishment! Have tidings of scalding water and foul pus, and other such punishments!’ They will keep repeating this until it leaves the body but on hearing this, terrified, the soul clings to the body, refusing to leave. The Angel of Death will extract it by force, like a skewer is pulled from wet wool causing the veins and nerves to burst. It will come out from the side of his mouth (filthy and noisy) like a donkey does when its soul departs.
No sooner does he take it, within the blink of an eye, the other angels take it from his hand and put it in that course fabric, and from it emanates the most repugnant odour of a decaying corpse that ever existed on the earth.
Every angel between the heavens and the earth, and every angel in the heavens, curses him. They said, ‘A vile soul has come from the earth!’ The gates of the heaven are barred to him, and the guardians of every gate implore Allāh that this soul not ascend in their direction.
The angels then ascend with it. As they pass by gatherings of angels, they are asked, “What is this vile soul?” They respond, ‘He is so-and-so, son of so-and-so,’ using the worst names with which he was called in this life. When they reach the lowest heaven, they request admission but the gates are not opened for him, and the angels say, ‘What a vile odour! There is no welcome for a filthy soul living in a filthy body here! Return disgraced and humiliated, the door will not be opened for you!’
لَا تُفَتَّحُ لَهُمْ أَبْوَابُ السَّمَاءِ وَلَا يَدْخُلُونَ الْجَنَّةَ حَتَّىٰ يَلِجَ الْجَمَلُ فِي سَمِّ الْخِيَاطِ
The gates of heaven will not be open to them and they will not enter Paradise until a camel passes through the eye of a needle.
Allāh will then say, “Write his record in Sijjīn in the lowest earth,” and they are told, ‘Take him back to the earth because I promised them that from it I created them, into it I will send them, and from it resurrect them once again.’ His soul is then cast down from the heavens without regard and it falls back into his body,
وَمَن يُشْرِكْ بِاللَّـهِ فَكَأَنَّمَا خَرَّ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ فَتَخْطَفُهُ الطَّيْرُ أَوْ تَهْوِي بِهِ الرِّيحُ فِي مَكَانٍ سَحِيقٍ
Whoever associates partners with Allāh is like someone who has been hurled down from the skies and snatched up by birds or flung to a distant place by the wind.
and at that point, he will hear the patter of his companion’s shoes as they walk away from his grave.