Yes, I know that it's spelled that way in the opening of each sura, but I thought that was the exception, and that it should be spelled with an alif otherwise, but I guess this spelling is used even in the shortened form (it didn't look wrong to me, but I wanted to ask to make sure). I assume that spelling the shortened form with an alif is also correct, isn't it?
What does it mean?
Actually, I found out that it does not mean “in the name of God”, it means “with the name of God”, as in “I start [whatever I’m doing] with saying the name of God”. I’m not doing it with God’s authority, I’m mentioning his name hoping for his blessing.Does it really have the same meaning as « in the name of » in English, i.e. you are about to do or say something by the authority of / for the sake of God