P: Death is a once in a lifetime experience that I look forward to, but I'm in no hurry and have things I wish to get underway (or complete) before embracing it.
M: Does the “soul” die, or just the outer shell called the physical body?
S: Samiya, do I read you as saying there is reincarnation? Do you believe that our eternal souls return to new lives after death? Or did I misread your post? "We will die and again be reborn." (?)
And my views on it:
Life is once in a death experience!
We were dead, then we were born in this world.
We will die and again be re-born.
In this world, death is decreed for all souls; in the hereafter, immortality is decreed... this is about the only thing we can count on... rest is all uncertain! As I understand it, death is like sleep, only prolonged. In the Quran, it is explained as:
It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep: those on whom He has passed the decree of death, He keeps back (from returning to life), but the rest He sends (to their bodies) for a term appointed verily in this are Signs for those who reflect.
( سورة الزمر , Az-Zumar, Chapter #39, Verse #42)
I can not speak with any knowledge about the soul's existence without the body, but it appears that it is in a state of sleep, as about resurrection, it is said that: They will say: "Ah! Woe unto us! Who hath raised us up from our beds of repose?"... (A voice will say:) "This is what ((Allah)) Most Gracious had promised. And true was the word of the apostles!"
( سورة يس , Ya Seen, Chapter #36, Verse #52)
The way I interpret the scripture, this life on Earth is the first bodily life, hence there was no former bodily existence, rather from non-living(death), we were brought into existence(life). We will taste death again(removal of soul from body), and then given life again(resurrected). However, there is the the concept of some form of existence as the life of this world and the judgment to follow are based upon a responsibility (trust) we humans volunteered for (Quran 33:72,73).
And to give an analogy from this life, God explains: And He it is Who makes the Night as a Robe for you, and sleep as Repose, and makes the Day (as it were) a Resurrection.
( سورة الفرقان , Al-Furqan, Chapter #25, Verse #47)
As I replied to M, we will be reborn, but not here, rather in the Hereafter, on the day of retribution, and then life will be eternal. So, its not death which is a finality, rather its life which is a finality, hence its not death that need be feared, rather eternity, as that life, good or bad, will be perpetual! In this life, we atleast taste good times and bad, there it'll be continuously good or bad. So, reincarnation, yes, but with a twist :)
Few verses related to the topic:
Every soul shall have a taste of death: And only on the Day of Judgment shall you be paid your full recompense. Only he who is saved far from the Fire and admitted to the Garden will have attained the object (of Life): For the life of this world is but goods and chattels of deception.
( سورة آل عمران , Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #185)
And Allah sends down rain from the skies, and gives therewith life to the earth after its death: verily in this is a Sign for those who listen.
( سورة النحل , An-Nahl, Chapter #16, Verse #65)
Then contemplate (O man!) the memorials of Allah's Mercy!- how He gives life to the earth after its death: verily the same will give life to the men who are dead: for He has power over all things.
( سورة الروم , Ar-Room, Chapter #30, Verse #50)
It is Allah Who sends forth the Winds, so that they raise up the Clouds, and We drive them to a land that is dead, and revive the earth therewith after its death: even so (will be) the Resurrection!
( سورة فاطر , Fatir, Chapter #35, Verse #9)
Know ye (all) that Allah giveth life to the earth after its death! already have We shown the Signs plainly to you, that ye may learn wisdom.
( سورة الحديد , Al-Hadid, Chapter #57, Verse #17)