Is there a Hadith to the effect that fornicating [committing zina] with one’s neighbour’s wife and stealing from one’s neighbour is ten (10) times worse?
Yes. Sayyiduna Miqdad ibnul Aswad (radiyallahu ‘anhu) reports that Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) once asked the Sahabah (radiyallahu’anhum) regarding zina. They said, ‘It is impermissible. Allah and His Messenger have made it haram.’ Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then said, ‘It is easier [i.e. less sinful] for a man to commit zina with ten other women than committing zina with his neighbour’s wife.’ Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then asked them regarding stealing. They replied, ‘It is impermissible. Allah (‘Azza Wa Jalla) and His Messenger have made it haram.’ Nabi (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then said, ‘Stealing from ten other households is easier [i.e. less sinful] than stealing from your neighbour’s house.’
(Musnad Ahmad, vol. 6 pg. 8, Al Adabul Mufrad, Hadith: 103, Al Mu’jamul Kabir, Hadith: 605, volume: 20, Al Mu’jamul Awsat, Hadith: 6329)
‘Allamah Mundhiri and ‘Allamah Haythami (rahimahumallah) have declared the narrators reliable.
(Targhib, vol. 3 pg. 279, Majma’uz Zawaid, vol. 8 pg. 168)
And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.
Answered by: Moulana Suhail Motala
Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar