In 5:3 what does it mean when it states “and animals sacrificed on altars”? Does this constitute the first dietary prohibition of carrion? Or the fourth dietary prohibition of animals sacrificed to other than God?
[5:3] Prohibited for you are animals that die of themselves, blood, the meat of pigs, and animals dedicated to other than GOD. (Animals that die of themselves include those) strangled, struck with an object, fallen from a height, gored, attacked by a wild animal—unless you save your animal before it dies (ذَكَّيْتُمْ)—and animals sacrificed (ذُبِحَ) on altars. Also prohibited is dividing the meat through a game of chance; this is an abomination. Today, the disbelievers have given up concerning (the eradication of) your religion; do not fear them and fear Me instead. Today, I have completed your religion, perfected My blessing upon you, and I have decreed Submission as the religion for you. If one is forced by famine (to eat prohibited food), without being deliberately sinful, then GOD is Forgiver, Merciful.
The Arabic that is translated as “animals sacrificed on altars” is “ذُبِحَ عَلَى النُّصُبِ” The Arabic word used for slaughtered is “ذُبِحَ” this is specifically means something killed without the intention of it being food.
If we look at every other occurrence of this root it is always in the context of killing when it is not intended to be food. For example, this is the same root used in 2:49:
[2:49] Recall that we saved you from Pharaoh’s people who inflicted upon you the worst persecution, slaying (يُذَبِّحُونَ) your sons and sparing your daughters. That was an exacting test from your Lord.
Also see 2:67, 2:71, 14:6, 27:21, 28:4, 37:102, and 37:107.
Another proof for this is two words before ذُبِحَ in 5:3, the word “ذَكَّيْتُمْ” is used for slaughter with the intention of making the animal fit for food.
This lets us know that if we kill an animal the intention has to be that it will be killed for the sake of being food. Otherwise, it will fall in the category of carrion irrespective if it was done by a human or from natural causes.
This is the reason that if a person, for instance, hits a deer with their car the deer would be prohibited to eat. Because the intention when killing the animal was not to make it food, therefore, it will fall into the camp of carrion.
But if the deer was still alive after the person hit it with their car, and then the human kills the animal with the intent of making it food ذَكَّيْتُمْ, then it is lawful to eat.