Lyrics

Ani is a Malaysian-born singer. She now lives -- and makes music -- in Los Angeles. Her album tackles the question of what it means to be a Muslim today. The World's Jason Margolis has our Global Hit.

Ani made her living writing secular music for near 20 years. She did well. She helped blues singer Keb Mo win a Grammy last year. But recently, Ani decided to step up to the microphone herself.

Ani: "As a Muslim, I'm really exasperated and very frustrated with the status of the Muslim community, especially with the violence that's being perpetuated in the name of Islam, and I'm trying to take that back. Trying to redefine what Islam means to me anyway and to a lot of Muslims out there that are not being heard."

Ani's making herself heard through this. She calls it Islamic pop music.

Ani arranged the basic score at home on a synthesizer. Then she brought in musicians to add a fiddle and Oud. The oud is a Middle Eastern string instrument. She called her first album "Ummah Wake Up." Ummah is the Arabic word for community.

"Come my Ummah wake up, our Jihad is long overdue. Let's go Ummah Wake up, coz you and I have much to do. Come on Ummah Wake up our jihad is long overdue...

" That's right, you heard the word jihad.

Ani: “I use the word jihad in the chorus and what I'm trying to do is define what jihad really means (and also to educate the population at large what jihad really means.) And other than us assuming it means this holy war and let's go kill some people. So jihad is really that internal struggle, the struggle to be more Godly in character, for example to be more merciful, more forgiving. And that is our personal jihad as human beings to be a better human being."

That's Ani's personal journey. Here's her geographic one. She's from Malaysia. And she's lived in Germany, India, and Egypt. She now calls LA home. When I met her in her apartment in Los Angeles, she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt. She's 43. She's got dark hair streaked with blonde. And she never stops smiling. She doesn't look like much of a rabble rouser.

But Ani's music is stirring up controversy. Islamic American leaders are criticizing her songs. They say she's exploiting a negative, and unfair, stereotype of Muslims.

Ani says she's not welcome to play at Islamic centers. Perhaps it's because of message like this. This song is called Bury me. It's about the so-called honor killing of Muslim women.

Ani: “I am Allah's creation. I don't deserve discrimination. Controlling and honor killing, there's no room for that the Koran says.” Ani says in the west, Muslim women might not be killed. But they experience a type of spiritual death.

Ani: "So this song says, fine, you may not bury me at birth, but you mind as well because I'm still being judged by my appearance. I'm being discriminated against because of my gender in education, with honor killing. The general sense is that you know, the boys can go around and do whatever they want and not be responsible for their actions, whereas the girls are trained to be docile, groomed so that when they get married their duty is to please the husband."

Ani's first album also includes a song about the Prophet Mohammed's first wife, Khadijah. She was a successful businesswomen. When Ani started writing Islamic pop songs, she was trying to reach American Muslim kids. But she hopes her songs also speak to adults of all faiths.

Her second album is called "One." Here she moves away from a focus on Islam. Instead she sings about what different religions have in common. For instance, one of the most common words in Jewish and Islamic faiths. “Salaam is peace to you. Shalom is peace to you. There's no difference in the God we pray to the oneness of our God." Ani teamed up with Los Angeles Rabbi Naomi Levy to write this song "Oneness of God."

Ani: "As a Muslim, I was raised that the Jews are my cousins, you know, I wasn't raised to be hateful of Jews. And I think for the most part that's how most Muslims are raised. I think unfortunately because of the politics of Palestine - Israel, that's changed a little bit… So I decided that I needed to do a song to celebrate our two faiths."

Ani plays her music at interfaith events. You won't find her stuff on the shelves at the big music stores. And don't expect to hear her on pop radio stations anytime soon.

Ani: "I don't really know where I fit in because there is no Muslim commercial music scene for me to plug in. And that would be sort of the obvious platform to launch oneself. And if I was going to promote myself as an Islamic pop singer, who is going to promote me? (laughs). You know ....so that's a toughie. Yea."

For The World, I'm Jason Margolis. For more information: http://www.a-n-i.net

Ani

Lyrics

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=92552774

Ani
Ani
George Landress/Ani Zonneveld
Ani
George Landress/Ani Zonneveld
Ani
G.Landress/Ani Zonneveld
Ani
George Landress/Ani Zonneveld

Lyrics

Download the lyrics in pdf here. 

Ani
written by me.

Story

This funky song is my tribute to Khadijah, the first Muslim, Prophet Muhammad's wife, and the financier of Islam. In the music video I also give tribute to the Muslim women of today who in their way contribute to the betterment of our global society. -ani-

Lyrics

Ani with George Landress on guitar

Lyrics

Ani

Lyrics

MADE THE SAME 

©G.Landress /  Zuriani

YOUR POWER MAKES ME STRONGER INSIDE
IT MAKES YOU MAD
YOU CAN’T CAGE ME IN WITH WALLS ANYMORE
THIS MAKES ME SAD
 

YOU GET ALL ANNOYED
YOU CAN’T MAKE ME VOID
I’M HERE TO STAY SO MAKE THE BEST OF ME, COZ 

 

WHEN I LOOK INTO YOUR EYES
I JUST SEE THE SAME DESIRES
OUR DNA IS
MADE THE SAME, THE SAME
 
EACH TIME I PLANT A TREE FOR SHADE
YOU POISON THE GROUND
AN APOLOGY YOU OFFER TO TRADE
IF I DON’T MAKE A SOUND
 
I’M HUMAN TOO
WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU
IT’S SUCH A USELESS WASTE OF ENERGY
 
WHY ARE YOU SO AFRAID
MY LIFE AND YOURS IS ALL THE SAME
IN SO MANY WORDS
WHEN I LOOK INTO YOUR EYES
I JUST SEE THE SAME DESIRES
OUR DNA IS
MADE THE SAME, THE SAME
 
I DON’T LIKE TO ARGUE
DON’T LIKE TO FIGHT
I’D RATHER BE LIVING IN PEACE
I’VE GIVEN A LITTLE
I WISH YOU WOULD TOO PLEASE

 

Ani
Written by: Ani

Lyrics

CANDLE DANCE

(A song for my father) 

HERE’S A DANCE THAT I DO
IT’S MY TRIBUTE TO YOU
TO PAY HOMAGE TO ROLES THAT YOU PLAYED
I HAVE LIVED AS YOU TAUGHT
HEAR YOUR VOICE IN MY THOUGHTS
LIVING LIFE TO THE BEST THAT I CAN
 
THROUGH YOUR COURAGE I’VE FOUND
MY EXISTANCE’S TO COUNT
THERE’S A PURPOSE OF ME BEING HERE
 
NEVER DID COMPROMISE
YOUR AMBITIONS REALIZED
ARE THE REASONS I HOLD YOU SO DEAR
 
COME BEHOLD
THIS CANDLE DANCE
IS JUST MY TRIBUTE TO YOU
 
I’LL UNFOLD
MY CANDLE DANCE
IT’S THE LEAST I CAN DO FOR YOU
 
LIKE A CANDLE IN THE DARK
YOU STOOD OUT AND LEFT YOUR MARK
A DISTINCTIVE WAY OF LIVING LIFE
 
THOUGH TO SOME YOU ARE GONE
BUT YOUR PASSION LIVES ON
IT’S AS SACRED AS BEING ALIVE
 
SOLO, REPEAT CHORUS
 
TO YOU WHO HAD SO MUCH WISDON AND LIBERTY
I SALUTE THE LIFE YOU’VE LIVED AND THE SACRIFICES YOU’VE MADE
THIS IS JUST A TOKEN OF MY APPRECIATION
I HOPE YOU CAN SEE ME, CAN YOU HEAR ME…?
THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

Artist: Ani
J.Rydningen /Zuriani

Story

Kyrie Eleison is distinctively a Christian word because of its heritage but its translation, 'Lord have Mercy', is a conversation with God most faiths can relate to. In the first verse I refer to God as a 'she' because unlike Arabic, there is no singuler genderless word in English. In the second verse of the song, to be fair to the men, I refer to God as a 'he'. :-) Allah, Arabic for God, is also a word used by Christian Arabs! So its not a Muslim only God. This song is my conversation with God for forgiveness for the so many times I've pretended not to see the poor, the many times I've chosen not to speak up for Justice.....all the things Jesus or Isa (as we Muslims call him) taught us not to be. -ani-

Lyrics

KYRIE ELEISON
(Greek: “Lord have mercy”)
©J.Rydningen /Zuriani 

SHE´S CRYING TEARS OF SORROW AND PAIN
AND I PROMISED EACH TIME I WON´T HURT HER AGAIN
SHE FORGIVES WITH NO REGRETS
LOVE GAVE HER STRENGTH TO FORGET

KYRIE ELEISON KYRIE ELEISON
PLEASE GIVE ME ONE MORE GLANCE
KYRIE ELEISON KYRIE ELEISON
SMILE IF I HAVE ONE MORE CHANCE

HE´S MEMORIZES MY EVERY THOUGHT
HE KNOWS I SHOULD HAVE SPOKEN INSTEAD I DID NOT
A HUNGRY STARE AND OF DISPAIR
I CHOSE TO BE UNAWARE

REPEAT CHORUS

I SEEK TRUTH ON BENDED KNEES
MY HEAVY HEART NEEDS TO UNDO
RUSHING TO FIND THE WAY BACK TO THEE
MY ONLY COMFORT IS YOU

Ani & Rabbi Naomi Levi
Written by: Rabbi Naomi/ Ani

Story

This is my contribution to melting the ice between the Muslim and Jewish communities. Although the progressives of both sides have found comradery in each other, lets face it, there are still a lot of closet-haters in our communities that need to be flushed out.

Lyrics

ONENESS OF GOD (passages from the Torah/ Quran) (Rabbi Naomi & Ani)

WE ARE ALL ONE IN YOUR LIGHT

SPREAD YOUR TENT OF PEACE OVER US 

OH LET PEACE FILL THE WORLD

AS THE WATERS FILL THE SEA 

SALAM IS PEACE TO YOU

SHALOM IS PEACE TO YOU 

THERE’S NO DIFFERENCE IN THE GOD WE PRAY

IT’S THE ONENESS OF OUR GOD 

THE PATH TO TAKE IS THE MIDDLE WAY

TO THE ONENESS OF OUR GOD 

SALAM IS PEACE TO YOU

SHALOM IS PEACE TO YOU

 THE PATH TO LOVE IS TO BELIEVE IN

THE ONENESS OF OUR GOD 

LET’S REJOICE WITH ONE BIG VOICE

OF THE ONENESS OF OUR GOD 

ONENESS OF OUR GOD

ONENESS OF OUR GOD 

LOVE GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART

WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, WITH ALL YOUR MIGHT 

HEAL US GOD, AND WE WILL BE HEALED

TURN US TO YOU, GOD, AND WE WILL RETURN 

ONENESS OF GOD


Songwriter/producer: Ani

Lyrics

MY FAVOURITE PASSAGES (Words from the Quran and Music by Ani)

LET THERE BE NO COMPULSION IN FAITH (Quran:2:256)
GOD WILL ALWAYS BE IN WAIT
CLOSER TO YOU THAN YOUR JUGULAR VEIN (Quran: 50:16)
OH MERCY GOD
OH GRACIOUS GOD
WE HAVE CREATED A MAN AND A WOMAN
DIVIDED YOU INTO NATIONS AND TRIBES
TO LEARN FROM EACH OTHER AND NOT TO HATE (Quran:49:13)
OH MERCY GOD
OH GRACIOUS GOD
WORSHIP THE MERCIFULL
FEED THE HUNGRY AND SPREAD PEACE
YOU SHALL ENTER PARADISE IN PEACE
(Hadith of Prophet Muhammad by Abd’allah bin Amr)
OH HUMANKIND! NOW WE HAVE REVEALED
ONTO YOU A BOOK THAT IS ALL ABOUT YOU
SO, WILL YOU NOT, THEN, USE YOUR SENSE (Quran: 21:10)
LET THERE BE NO COMPULSION IN FAITH (Quran:2:256)
GOD WILL ALWAYS BE IN WAIT
CLOSER TO YOU THAN YOUR JUGULAR VEIN (Quran: 50:16)
OH MERCY GOD
OH GRACIOUS GOD

Ani
0000-00-00

Story

The passage "May the spiritual presence of the Buddha and all enlightenend ones, past and present.." connected me to an Islamic passage in the Quran of how "many teachers have been sent and to many lands to teach us...". As for the Native American faith, I was incredible dumpfounded on how similar it is to Islam.

Lyrics

Zensho Kada Chant Shan-tao (613-682) May the spiritual presence of the Buddha and all enlightenend ones, past and present, permeate this hall; to send forth wisdom, like flower-petals falling from the sky, to awaken those of us gathered.
Ani
2005-11-07
Written, produced by Ani

Story

I decided to highlight Khadijah, the first convert to Islam, as a role modal for Muslims. It is also a sarcastic statement to most Muslim countries that oppress their womenfolk. Khadijah was a rich, independent woman who proposed to Prophet Muhammad, who was 15 years older than him, who financed Islam. And yet, in some Muslim countries women can't drive, can't move around their country without the signature of a male relative, forced into marriage, and sometimes at an illegal age. Some Muslims have got it all wrong, despite Islam.

Lyrics

JUST LIKE KHADIJAH THERE’S A LADY I GOT TO KNOW SHE LIVED FOURTEEN HUNDRED YEARS AGO THE WIFE OF PROPHET MUHAMMAD PEACE BE UPON BOTH OF THEM A BUSINESS WOMAN WITH HER OWN IDENTITY IN A WORLD WHERE GIRLS ARE NOT AS WORTHY SHE GAVE SO MUCH BACK TO HER COMMUNITY WHAT A ROLE MODAL FOR ME JUST LIKE KHADIJAH I WANT TO BE STRONG STAND UP FOR WHATS RIGHT AND FIGHT WHATS WRONG JUST LIKE KHADIJAH I WILL BE THAT GIRL A SUPERWOMAN MUSLIM IN THIS WORLD SHE INVESTED A LOT FOR ISLAM WITH A HUMBLE HEART AND OPEN ARMS SHE’S THE PRINCESS OF MECCA AND THE PURE ONE “AL-TAHIRA” SHE STOOD BY HER HUSBAND THROUGH THE THICK AND THIN FOR THE SAKE OF ALLAH AND THE RELIGION LIVING HER LIFE IN SUBMISSION OF THE DEEN WHAT A ROLE MODAL FOR ME
Ani
0000-00-00

Lyrics

Performed by Shahjehan of the “The Kominas”
Ani on The Courtyard
2005-12-17
2006-03-24
For some reason the music is sped up....and for some reason Ingrid Mattson, VP of ISNA thinks I'm negative on Islam. Don't think she's heard my songs!
Ani
2005-11-07
Written/produced by Ani

Story

This song is for both Muslims and non-Muslims. For the Muslim community it is obvious we have some major issues to sort out. How have we deviated from the spirit of Islam of peace, forgiveness, love and compassion. What happened? To non-Muslims it is a way to explain that Jihad isn't equivalent to Holy War (a word the Crusaders used to justify their killings of non-Christians). Jihad is that very struggle to be more God-like, i.e. merciful, loving, caring, etc., a challenge in our daily human struggle, a jihad.

Lyrics

UMMAH WAKE UP ALLAH WILL HELP THOSE WHO HELP THEMSELVES DON’T WASTE TIME AND WONDER WHY THE SUFFERINGS WE HAVE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD NO MATTER WHAT YOU ARE LOOK BEYOND OUR DIFFERENCES THAT WAY WE’LL GO FAR WE NEED TO LIVE AND WORK TOGETHER TO MAKE OUR LIVES THAT MUCH BETTER WE CAN AGREE TO DISAGREE BUT PLEASE DO SO RESPECTFULLY COME MY UMMAH WAKE UP OUR JIHAD IS LONG OVERDUE LET’S GO UMMAH WAKE UP COZ YOU AND I HAVE MUCH TO DO REPEAT CHORUS NURTURE AND WE’LL GROW ZAKAT EVERYDAY COZ EVERY KIND WORD THAT YOU GIVE GOES A LONG WAY GIVING IN TO HATE WILL ONLY EAT YOUR FAITH IF ALLAH IS FORGIVING THEN WE SHOULD DO THE SAME WE NEED TO BURY OLD TRADITIONS THAT CONTRADICT KORANIC TEACHINGS LET US BE JUST IN THIS UNJUST WORLD THE MIDDLE PATH IS WHAT WE’VE BEEN TOLD REPEAT CHORUS
Ani
2005-11-30
Written/produced by Ani

Lyrics

HAPPY EID EACH YEAR I GET BETTER MORE GODLY THAN EVER RAMADAN PUSHES ME SPIRITUALLY TODAY’S THE DAY I CAN CLAIM I’VE ACHIEVED VICTORY FOR MY FAITH AND MY BELIEVES HAPPY EID TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY TOO HUNDREDS OF GREETINGS ON THIS SPECIAL DAY MAY ALLAH BLESS YOU WITH ETERNAL PEACE LET’S CELEBRATE EID AL-FITR RUNNING ON EMPTY MY SOUL IS HUNGRY I KNOW I HAVE TO HEAL WITH PRAYERS AS MY MEAL LET ME THANK MY GOD ALL MIGHTY FOR EACH AND EVERY ONE AROUND ME CHORUS
Ani
2005-11-30
Written/produced by Ani

Lyrics

TIME TIME IS AN INTANGIBLE CONCEPT ARMS OF TIME GO AROUND AND AROUND AND AROUND NEVER STOPPING FOR ANYTHING OR ANYONE BUT SOMEWHERE ON THE FACE OF TIME, IS MY TIME I HAVE COME A LONG, LONG WAY TO THE POINT OF BLOOSEMING THERE WERE WINDS THAT HAVE BLOWN MY WEAK PETALS AWAY BUT I GET STRONGER WITH EACH CASTAWAY LIVING, BREATHING UNTIL IT’S MY TIME LEARNING, GROWING UNTIL IT’S MY TIME I CAN’T WAIT AND I CAN’T RUSH I’M AT YOUR MERCY AND I WILL ALWAYS BE PATIENT SO PATIENT AS EACH MOMENT PASSES BY LIVING, BREATHING UNTIL IT’S MY TIME LEARNING, GROWING UNTIL IT’S MY TIME CRADDLE ME IN YOUR ARMS OF TIME FULFILL MY DREAMS IN LIFE FROM YOUR TIME TAKE ME TO WHERE IT IS TIME FOR MY TIME READY FOR WHAT IT WILL BE MY TIME I HAVE COME A LONG, LONG WAY TO THE POINT OF BLOOMING CAN’T YOU SEE ME BLOOMING CRADDLE ME IN YOUR ARMS FULFILL MY DREAMS IN LIFE TAKE ME TO WHERE IT IS TIME
Ani
2005-11-07
Written/produced by Ani

Story

As a Muslim woman I occasionally receive emails telling me that my female voice is forbidden to sing. Like my hair, somehow its a turn-on. (That’s why if you go to any Muslim website you will never see a female artist's cd sold). This song is borne out of the ridiculousness of honour killing (not inherent to just the Muslim community), raising our daughters to not just worship God but to 'please the men'. In Pre-Islam, the tribes of Arabia used to bury their female babies, and as the Quran even mentions: "it made the fathers feel less of a man". So come Islam, Prophet Muhammad revealed a passage from the Quran stating this practice is to be abolished immediately. My statement in this song is, although we may not bury our female babies literally, we still deprive them of education, of equal right to self-determination on how to live our lives. In China with the one-child policy to control their population growth, an ultra-sound will tell you if a child is a male or female. And guess what folks? For most people, female babies are aborted. (See related news article so you know I'm not making this up! http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/ 004E4E92-4722-473E-9F7D-258DA23088F2.htm AND http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ story/RTGAM.20060109. wxabortion09/BNStory/International/) AIDS in Muslim countries have exploded. Why? Unfaithful husbands come back to infect their wives, and the wives, being raised to 'please the husband' oblige even when they know their lives are at risk. With the death of parents, the children are left in deeper poverty. Whose fault is that? So, even though society may not bury female baby girls alive anymore....but you know...THEY MIGHT AS WELL!

Lyrics

BURY ME I’M ALLAH’S CREATION I DON’T DESERVE DISCRIMINATION CONTROLLING AND HONOUR KILLING THERE’S NO ROOM FOR THAT THE KORAN SAYS WHO SAID GRLS SHOULD STAY BEHIND I’M NOT ONE TO FOLLOW BLIND MY RIGHTS TO LIBERATE MY MIND AND BREAK AWAY THE CHAINS THAT BIND YOU MAY NOT BURY ME AT BIRTH IN EARTH BUT THERE’S NO DIFFERENCE WHEN YOU DICTATE MY WORTH YOU SHED NO TEAR AS YOU KEEP ME DEPRIVED YOU MIGHT AS WELL JUST BURY ME ALIVE I’M ENTITLED NOT YOUR SUB-TITLE HOW YOU TREAT ME IS SO NOT OKAY I’M NOT MADE TO COOK AND CLEANING WITH NO SCHOOLING ON YOUR INSTRUCTION YOU DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO TOUCH ME INFECT ME WITH YOUR DISEASE YOU DISGRACE GOD’S HUMANITY IN THE NAME OF PIETY REPEAT CHORUS
Ani
2005-11-30
Written/produced by Ani

Lyrics

ALHAMDULLILAH I’M SWIMMING BUT UNDERCURRENTS TAKE ME TO BEGINNING FRUSTRATING FORCES THAT ARE STRONG AND SO DAUNTING THE PROCESS IS SO TESTING I SEE MYSELF ASHORE WITH WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR IT’S NOT ONLY MY DREAMING THAT PUSHES ME FOR MORE, MY EXPECTATIONS TO SOAR ALHAMDULLILAH, ALHAMDULLILAH YOU’RE THE LIGHT IN ME GUIDING OVER ME ALHAMDULLILAH, ALHAMDULLILAH YOU’RE THE LOVE IN ME BLINDING LOVE FOR ME NO MORE DOORS LEADING ME TO JUST A HOLE IN THE FLOOR INSANITY IS TRYING TO CREEP UP AND OVERCOME ME BUT SOMETHING PULLS ME THROUGH A POWER THAT MAINTAINS, ITS HARD TO EXPLAIN YOUR TIMING’S ALWAYS RIGHT MY SOUL IS IN YOUR HAND, TO HOLY LAND CHORUS GOTTA GIVE ALL THAT I CAN GIVE GOTTA PRAY ALL THAT I CAN PRAY GOTTA TRY, GOTTA LIVE JUST LIKE IT’S MY LAST DAY

Singing and Speaking for the Soul of Islam

Join Ani's mailling list

singer / songwriter / producer / activist

I'm really excited about this new collection of songs in a new genre "Islamic Hymns". I'm co-writing & co-producing it with George Landress with backing vocal arrangement by Michael Mishaw. The music borrows from classical music with lots of choral arrangements. The lyrics is in English and Islamic in content. 

Please sign up to my mailing list for updates. Thank you!

Have a listen