Praise be to Allaah.
The scholars (may Allaah have mercy on them) interpreted ruqam in two ways:
(i) That it refers to images in carpets and similar items, which are walked on and are not treated in a respectful manner like pillows. This is allowed, because the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) allowed it. What is meant is that he allowed their use, but making images is not allowed.
(ii) That it refers to decorations on garments, apart from pictures or images. Decoration on clothing is fine and does not come under the ruling on images. What is forbidden is images of animate beings, human or otherwise, because it was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered upon ‘Aa’ishah and saw a garment on which there was an image. He got angry and tore it down, and said, “The makers of these images will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and they will be told, ‘Give life to that which you have created.’ ‘Aa’ishah said: So I made it into two pillows on which the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) could recline. Al-Nasaa’i narrated with a saheeh isnaad from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) had an appointment with Jibreel, and he was late, so he went out to him and found him waiting for him (outside). Jibreel said to him: “In the house there is a statue, and a curtain with images on it, and a dog. Go and break the head off the statue so that it will look like a tree, and go and make two pillows out of the curtain that will be thrown on the floor and stepped on, and go and throw the dog out.” The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) went and did that, then Jibreel (peace be upon him) came in. Abu Hurayrah said: the dog was a puppy underneath a bed in the house, which has been brought in by al-Hasan and al-Husayn.