The aspect of his worldview most commonly known..., most frequently misunderstood
..., and most vehemently opposed by his critics, is known as Wahdat ul Wujud,
Oneness of Being....
For his critics, this doctrine sounds suspiciously and unacceptably similar to the Vedantic aphorism "All is He, He is All." Of course, his critics do not have to stretch their imagination or resources to assail Ibn al-Arabi; the Islamic creed provides ample textual material that seems to clearly establish the Transcendence of God, and His Incomparability with any thing humans can perceive or any idea they can conceive.
Some of those who ascribe to Ibn al-Arabi's ideology have taken pains to
show its compatibility with, and its sources in, the Islamic texts. Others
have disassociated themselves with any terminology or references that can
be traced to Ibn al-Arabi, so as to make the same worldview palatable, couched
in a different language.
But there are others who locate the opposition to Ibn al-Arabi in the supreme subtlety of his ideas and the--perhaps forgivable--obtuseness of his critics, and claim that his worldview is the only complete  understanding of the most central of Islamic concepts: tauhid, or monotheism.
This tension between criticisms of the ultimate blasphemy and claims of absolute truthfulness is made more interesting within the context of the influence of his ideas mentioned above; it seems to be a worthwhile venture to try to grasp Ibn al-Arabi's conception of the nature of reality. This paper is an attempt in that direction.
The Divine Essence, by definition, is that part of God which cannot be known. It is concerning the Essence that the Qur'an says "None knows God but God." Since none other than God knows His Essence, it is meaningless and impossible--and in Ibn al-Arabi's terminology, also discourteous--to talk about it--except to declare that is cannot be known, in accordance with saying of the first caliph of Islam, Hazrat Abu Bakr, "Declaration of God's incomprehensibility is itself comprehension."
While the Essence of God is 'God in Himself',
the Attributes of God are 'God in Himself as well as God in relation to other-than-God.'
God has an Essence and many Attributes, but he is still One. The multiple characteristics (color, smell, texture, etc) of any object do not imply a multiplicity of objects; they merely imply different aspects of the same object, one object viewed from different points of view. Likewise, the Attributes of God do not have any ontological existence of their own; they do not exist as separate entities apart from God. In fact, they do not even exist as parts of God. In other words, they are not constituents of God, but merely His characteristics. In Ibn al-Arabi's words, "He is the object named by them [the Attributes], but he does not become multiple though them [because only i]f they were ontological qualities subsisting within His, they would make Him multiple."
(The above is) very useful in explaining the nature of the Divine in relation
to all else.
* when the Islamic texts mention the utter and absolute disjunction between God and all creation--as in the Qur'anic verse "None knows God but God"--they are referring to God's Essence.
* When they mention the distance of God from His creation--as in the verse "He is far removed from all that you associate with Him"--they are referring to those of His Attributes that establish distance between Him and His creation.
* And when they refer to similarity between Him and His creation--as not just the similarity but identity (in sharing the feeling of Love) implied in the verse "and they love [or: 'are well-pleased with'] Him and He loves [or: 'is well-please with'] them"--they are referring to the Attributes that establish a relationship of nearness between God and His creation.
Thus, the Essence and the Attributes are useful in bringing out two aspects of God in relation to the other-than-God: tanzih and tashbih.