The Soul's Temporary Dwelling Place
What actually happens to our souls when we die? Islam teaches that at the moment of death, the Angel of Death comes to remove the soul from the body. The souls of good people are lifted out gently, while the souls of wicked people are yanked out with terrifying force.
After the soul is lifted from the body, the angels carry it up to the gates of Heaven. There the person will become aware of whether he or she is destined for Heaven or Hell. Then God orders the soul to be returned to earth.
When the soul is returned to the earth, it rests in the grave until the Day of Resurrection. Muhammad taught that the soul rests in the company of angels, who question the person about his or her beliefs. They ask three questions: Who is your Lord? Who was your prophet? What was your way of life?
Muslims reject the belief that the souls of the departed may dwell among human beings, interact with them, harm or benefit them, or communicate with them. Islam teaches that the dead stay in the grave until the Day of Resurrection.
If the soul responds adequately to these questions, then the angels give it pleasant company, and the grave begins to seem spacious and comfortable. If the person shows rejection of God in the answers, then the space of the grave begins to seem tight and suffocating. The angels will torment such souls until the Day of Judgment. This is known as the punishment of the grave.