The subject of death scares us because we do not know much about it nor the life in the grave and the life after death. We all know we will one day die but few are willing to discuss the details of what happens thereafter. We are afraid because of our own ignorance; because what is to come is unseen and unfamiliar…and we are unprepared.
“The Angel of Death, put in charge of you, will (dully) take your souls; then shall you be brought back to your Lord” [32:11]
Allah sends a special Angel, Angel of Death whose nickname is Izrael to take the soul out the flesh. This angel knows us better than our parents know us. He knows where we are and how we are to die. His main responsibilities are extracting the soul out of the flesh. He can enter any and every place where a person is to die, in order to performs his duty, even if we hide ourselves in fortresses.
“Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are towers built strong and high” [4:78]
As far as the removal of the soul from the flesh is concerned, the Angel of Death will extract it from good people with ease. Hadith:
“Verily, when the believing servant is leaving this world and entering the next, angels from the heavens descend to him-their faces white with brightness like the sun and carrying with them burial sheets and scents from Paradise. They sit before him at a distance as far as the eye can see. Then the Angel of Death comes to the person, sits at his head and say's: 'O good soul, come out to your Lord's forgiveness and pleasure.' Thereupon, the soul flows out of the body like water flowing from the mouth of a waterskin, and all of the angels between the sky and the earth supplicate for Allah's blessing upon him. The doors of the heaven are opened for him, and the keepers of these doors all plead with Allah that this soul might pass in front of them as it is being carried upward. The Angel of Death barely receives the soul in his hands, whereupon the other angels take it from him and wrap it with fragrant winding sheets. This is what is meant by Allah's saying: "Our messengers seize his soul, and they do not fall short of their duty."
For those who are bad, the removal of the soul is tough and difficult.
“If you could see when the wrongdoers taste the pangs of death and the angels stretch their hands out, [saying], 'Deliver up your souls. This day you will be awarded a degrading punishment.” [6:93]
Here it is stated that death is painful for the disbelievers. Although they are ordered to surrender their souls to the angels, they are unwilling; therefore, the soul must be forced out as it does not wish to meet its punishment. [Qurtubi]
According to Hadith: Angel of Death... [says], “O you foul soul, come out to the anger and wrath of your Lord.' The soul inside the disbeliever's body is overcome by terrible fear [and does not want to deliver itself up], whereupon the Angel of Death violently pulls it out like multi-pronged skewers being yanked out of wet wool - tearing with them the arteries and nerves.”
Al-Qurtubi mentions that a great number of pious and dependable scholars are known to have witnessed the presence of Satan at death. He relates that he heard one of his own respected teachers, Imam Abul-'Abbaas Ahmad bin 'Umar al-Qurtubi, say, "I visited the brother of our teacher, shaikh Abu Jafar Muhammad al-Qurtubi at Cordova and found him near death. It was said to him, 'Repeat Laa ilaaha illallaah,', to which he replied, 'No! No!' When he came to, we mentioned what had occurred. He said, 'Tow devils came to me , one on my left and the other on my right. One of them said, "Die as a Jew, for verily it is the best of religions," while the other said, "Die as a Christian, for truly it is the best of religions." So I answered them saying, "No! No! How dare you say such a thing to me!"
“Verily Satan comes to you at all circumstances and affairs of your life, even at the time of eating.” [Muslim]
How about repentance before death?
“Allah accepts the repentance of the servant so long as his spirit has not arrived at his throat.” [Tirmidhi, al-Haakim, Ibn Hibbaan]
“Their faith was of no use to them once they saw Our doom.” [40:85]
“Forgiveness is not for those who continue to do evil deeds up until when death comes to one of them [and] he says, 'Truly, I repent now!'” [4:18]
There is no escape from death and it is certain to come, so, by us constantly thinking of death, it will easily enable us to prepare for death and the life of the hereafter and refrain from all worldly pleasures and luxuries. Hadith:
“Remember very often the cutter-off of all pleasure, that is death”