Abbas - Tanwîr al-Miqbâs min Tafsîr Ibn ‘Abbâs
(He it is Who gathereth you at night) He takes your souls away in your sleep (and knoweth that which ye commit) you earn (by day. Then He raiseth you again to life) He returns to you again your souls (therein) in the day, (that the term appointed (for you) may be accomplished) that your lifespan and provisions reach their terms. (And afterward unto Him is your return) after you die. (Then He will proclaim unto you what ye used to do) of good and evil.
It is He Who takes you at night, seizing your spirits during sleep, and He knows what you commit, [what] you earn, by day. Then He raises you up therein, that is, in the daytime, by restoring your spirits, so that an appointed term, namely, the term of life, may be accomplished; and afterward to Him is your return, through resurrection. Then He will inform you of what you used to do, and so requite you for it.
Then He raises you up therein, that is, in the sound deeds that you have committed and [in] what you have earned, for recompense, so that a term, which He has specified for resurrection and revivification, may be accomplished, whereafter you shall be returned to your Lord at the source of the nondelimited union so that He might inform you [of what you used to do] by making manifest upon you the forms of your deeds and recompense you therewith.
(It is Allah Who takes away the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. He keeps those (souls) for which He has ordained death and sends the rest for a term appointed.)39:42,,thus mentioning both minor and major death. Allah says,
(It is He, Who takes your souls by night (when you are asleep), and has knowledge of all that you have done by day,) meaning, He knows the deeds and actions that you perform during the day. This Ayah demonstrates Allah's perfect knowledge of His creation, by day and night, and in their movements and idleness. Allah said in other Ayat,
((Remember!) that the two receivers (recording angels) receive, one sitting on the right and one on the left. Not a word does he utter, but there is a watcher by him, ready.) 50:17-18. Allah's statement,
حَتَّى إِذَا جَآءَ أَحَدَكُمُ الْمَوْتُ
(until when death approaches one of you...) refers to, when one's life span comes to an end and he is dying,
(Our messengers take his soul...) meaning, there are angels who are responsible for this job. Ibn `Abbas and several others said that the Angel of Death has angels who pull the soul from its body and when it reaches the throat, the Angel of Death captures it. Allah said;
وَهُمْ لاَ يُفَرِّطُونَ
(and they never neglect their duty.) They guard the soul of the dead person and take it to wherever Allah wills, to `Illiyyin if he was among the righteous, and to Sijjin if he was among the wicked (disbelievers, sinners, etc.), we seek refuge with Allah from this end. Allah said next,
ثُمَّ رُدُّواْ إِلَى اللَّهِ مَوْلَـهُمُ الْحَقِّ
(Then they are returned to Allah, their Master, the Just Lord.) Imam Ahmad recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Prophet said,
(The angels attend the dying person. If he is a righteous person, the angels will say, `O pure soul from a pure body! Come out with honor and receive the good news of rest, satisfaction and a Lord Who is not angry.' The angels will keep saying this until the soul leaves its body, and they will then raise it up to heaven and will ask that the door be opened for the soul and it will be asked, `Who is this' It will be said, `(The soul of) so-and-so.' It will be said, `Welcome, to the pure soul that inhabited the pure body. Enter with honor and receive the good news of rest, satisfaction and a Lord Who is not angry.' This statement will be repeated until the soul reaches the heaven above which there is Allah. If the dying person is evil, the angels will say, `Get out (of your body), O wicked soul from a wicked body! Get out in disgrace and receive the news of boiling fluid, a fluid dark, murky, intensely cold and other (torments) of similar kind - all together - to match them.' This statement will be said repeatedly until the evil soul leaves its body. The soul will be raised up to heaven and a request will be made that the door be opened for it. It will be asked, `Who is this' It will be said, `(The soul of) so and so.' It will be said, `No welcome to the wicked soul from the wicked body. Return with disgrace, for the doors of heaven will not be opened for you.' So it will be thrown from heaven until it returns to the grave. So the righteous person sits and similar is said to him as before. And the evil person sits and similar is said to him as before.) It is also possible that the meaning of,
(Then they are returned...) refers to the return of all creation to Allah on the Day of Resurrection, when He will subject them to His just decision. Allah said in other Ayat,
(their Master, the Just Lord. Surely, His is the judgement and He is the swiftest in taking account.) 6:62
Maududi - Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi - Tafhim al-Qur'an
This alludes to the demand of the opponents for the scourge of Allah with which they were being threatened. They said, "Why does a scourge not come down upon us, when we are openly denying and defying you? If you have been really sent by Allah, then anyone, who denied and insulted you, would have been swallowed by the earth or stricken dead by lightning. How is it that the Messenger of Allah and his followers are undergoing untold afflictions and sufferings, while their tormentors are enjoying their lives merrily?"
Angels who keep strict watch over each and everything a man does or thinks of and maintain a complete record of all this.